Laois are through to their first Leinster football final in 11 years after seeing off an ultra-defensive Carlow team in a disappointing semi-final at Croke Park.
That this was a poor spectacle won't bother the O'Moore County in the slightest. In what was a repeat of the Allianz League Division 4 final, they led from pillar to post to beat their neighbours for a third time this season and end their hopes of reaching the provincial final for the first time since 1944. Carlow came into the game on the crest of a wave following excellent championship wins over Louth and Kildare, but set up defensively with Paul Broderick being left to plough a lone furrow up front. Laois offered much more going forward and with Donie Kingston proving to be an effective target man at full forward, they always had that winning look about them.
Turlough O'Brien's men failed to register a wide against Kildare, but this time they hit six, while Jordan Morrissey had a penalty appeal turned down in the 24th minute after Mark Timmons looked to have dragged him down.
Laois dominated the first half, but had to wait until the 15th minute for their first score from play via Donie Kingston. Carlow scored two of their next three scores, but John Sugrue's charges went on to lead by 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval thanks to further scores from Ross Munnelly - their sole survivor from the 2007 Leinster final defeat to Dublin - and Finbarr Crowley.
The winners kicked five wides at the start of the second half as three Broderick points (two frees) brought Carlow to within one entering the final quarter. But with Kingston to the fore and John O'Loughlin, Niall Donoher and Evan O'Carroll - whose father was laid to rest during the week - hitting late scores, the Division 4 champions weren't to be denied.
Scorers - Laois: Donie Kingston 0-3 (2fs), Ross Munnelly 0-2 (2fs), Alan Farrell, John O'Loughlin, Brian Glynn, Finbarr Crowley, Niall Donoher, Colm Begley, and Evan O'Carroll 0-1 each. Carlow: Paul Broderick 0-5 (4fs), Diarmuid Walshe, Darragh O'Brien, and Darragh Foley (f) 0-1 each.
Laois: Graham Brody; Stephen Attride, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Colm Begley, Finbarr Crowley; John O'Loughlin, Kieran Lillis; Alan Farrell, Niall Donoher, Damien O'Connor; Ross Munnelly, Donie Kingston, Paul Kingston. Subs: Benny Carroll for O'Connor (42), Brian Glynn for Farrell (46), Evan O'Carroll for Munnelly (53), Darren Strong for Paul Kingston (63), Gary Walsh for Donie Kingston (70), David Conway for O'Loughlin (70+2), Shane Nerney for Attride (70+9)
Carlow: Robbie Molloy; Chris Crowley, Shane Redmond, Conor Lawlor; Jordan Morrissey, Daniel St Ledger, Ciaran Moran; Sean Murphy, Eoghan Ruth; Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, Diarmuid Walshe; Paul Broderick, Darragh O'Brien, John Murphy. Subs: Brendan Kavanagh for Gannon (HT), Cian Lawler for Walsh (59), Simon Doyle for O'Brien (63), Kieran Nolan for Crowley (70).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).Tweet