Ambrose Doran had an eventful night in Greystones, kicking three points but also picking up a red card. Pic: Alf Harvey.
Laois senior footballers continued their winning start to the season last night with a 2-17 to 1-8 win over Wicklow in Greystones.
Peter Creedon's charges were a point down at half time, 1-5 to 0-7, but a blistering start to the second half sent them on their way to victory. Ruairi O'Connor top scored on the night with an impressive haul of 1-6, although it was far from plain sailing for Laois.
Matthew Campion and Gareth Dillon were both forced off injured, while Ambrose Doran will miss Saturday's game against Meath after being red-carded for an off-the-ball incident.
Doran had opened the scoring in the second minute with a wonderful point off his left foot, from the left wing. Eoin Keogh then pulled off a point-blank save to deny Wicklow a goal at the other end, before Ruairi O'Connor curled over a free to double the Laois lead.
Wicklow's Brendan Kennedy opened their account after that before Paul Kingston's goal chance was saved by Mark Jackson. A second point from Ruairi O'Connor put Laois two ahead, but Laois leaked a poor goal after that.
A mistake in midfield saw them cough up possession, and Wicklow moved it quickly to set Seanie Furlong up in the penalty area, and he made no mistake with an emphatic finish.
That goal would prove to be the difference for most of the half, as it helped to keep Wicklow slightly ahead. O'Connor, Doran and Gary Walsh all hit the target for Laois, but a free from Furlong in injury time meant Wicklow lead by a point at the interval.
The second half, however, was one-way traffic. Laois quickly took the lead when a brilliant ball over the Wicklow full-back line from Ambrose Doran found Ruairi O'Connor 14 yards out, and he made no mistake.
Doran followed that up with a fine long-range effort, before Gary Walsh cut in from the right wing and placed a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Laois now found themselves six point to the good, and Wicklow didn't look like they had a comeback in them.
The teams traded points after that, Gary Walsh and O'Connor the scorers for Laois, before Ambrose Doran was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Brendan Kennedy.
The numerical disadvantage didn't really make much of a difference to the game, and it was evened out when Wicklow had Darren Hayden sent off with five minutes to go for his part in a brief melee which broke out.
Laois finished strongly after that, kicking seven points without reply from Walsh (2), Sean Ramsbottom (2), Jamie Farrell, Ross Munnelly and Ruairi O'Connor to ease to a second win.
Next up is the much more formidable challenge of Meath, which will take place in Stradbally this Saturday night at 7pm.
Scorers: Ruairi O’Connor 1-6 (0-3 frees), Gary Walsh 1-4 (0-2 45s), Ambrose Doran 0-3, Sean Ramsbottom 0-2, Jamie Farrell, Ross Munnelly 0-1 each.
Team: Eoin Keogh; Ciaran Lennon, Kieran Lillis, Gareth Dillon; Darren Strong, Alan Farrell, Colm Begley; Kevin Meaney, Donie Kingston; Jamie Farrell, Ambrose Doran, Matthew Campion; Ruairi O’Connor, Gary Walsh, Paul Kingston. Subs: Cormac Murphy for Campion (8 mins, inj), Stephen Attride for Dillon (half time, inj), Ross Munnelly for Murphy (half time), Sean Ramsbottom for D Kingston (47 mins), Donie Kingston for Meaney (67 mins).
Scorers: Seanie Furlong 1-3 (0-2 frees), Mark Jackson (free), Brendan Kennedy, Anthony McLoughlin, David Boothman 0-1 each.
Team: Mark Jackson; Ciaran Hyland, Ross O’Brien, Brendan Kennedy; Darren Hayden, Jamie Snell, John Crowe; David Boothman, Anthony McLoughlin; Rory Finn, Stephen Kelly, Mark Kenny; Paddy Byrne, Seanie Furlong, John McGrath. Subs: Eoin Murtagh for Kelly (48 mins), Martin Cullen for Crowe (55 mins), Conor Ffrench for Kenny (58 mins), Mark Fitzsimons (65 mins).
Referee: James King (Dublin)