Down beat Laois in their Allianz National Football League Division One clash at Portlaoise on Sunday afternoon. The win was enough to guarantee the Ulster side a place in the semi finals of the competition.
The winners were quick out of the blocks in this game and Arthur McConville gave them an early lead. Gary Walsh replied for the hosts but then a goal from Conor Laverty gave the visitors a three point advantage. Down could have gone further ahead in the minutes that followed but some poor shooting kept Laois in touch. Points from Conor Boyle and Ross Munnelly left the hosts with some hope for the second period, as they went in at the break trailing 1-05 to 0-5.
Benny Coulter had the first point of the second half and he followed up minutes later with a well taken goal. This finished the game as a contest and set the Mourne men on their way to the last four. Colm Kelly and substitute David Conway added scores for Laois but the midlanders were never a serious threat after, and Down were full value for their victory.
The win was enough to secure a semi final date with Cork next weekend and a repeat of the 2010 All Ireland Final.
Scorers – Laois: G Walsh 0-02 (0-01f, 0-01 ’45′), C Begley, R Munnelly (0-01f), C Kelly (0-01f), D Conway (0-01f), B Quigley, C Boyle, D O’Connor, P Cahillane 0-01 each
Down: B Coulter 1-01, C Laverty 1-00, A McConville 0-03 (0-02f), K Quinn, A Carr (0-01f) 0-02 each, M Poland, A Rogers, C Garvey 0-01 each
Laois – E Culliton; M Timmons, C Healy, K Lillis; K Meaney, P O’Leary, C Boyle; J O’Loughlin, B Quigley; B Sheehan, R Munnelly, D Strong; C Begley, P Clancy, G Walsh.
Subs used: D O’Connor for Timmons (25 mins), P Cahillane for Walsh (half-time), D Conway for Munnelly (53), C Kelly for Sheehan (59), S Conroy for Clancy (70+1).
Down – B McVeigh; D McCartan, D Gordon, A Branagan; N McParland, B McArdle, C Garvey; A Rogers, K King; K McKernan, M Poland, A Carr; B Coulter, C Laverty, A McConville.
Subs used: K Quinn for McParland (32 mins), D Turley for Gordon (44), N Branagan for A Branagan (66), M Miskelly for Laverty (70+1).