Louth stated their league title ambitions in full force on Saturday night after this comprehensive victory over promotions favourites Laois.
Last year’s Division Four champions dismissed any relegation speculation with a strong performance in O’Moore Park as goals for Paraic Smith and Andy McDonnell set them up for a 12-point win.
It took six minutes for the opener when Ryan Burns converted for the visitors but they were 1-3 to 0-1 clear by 16 minutes with Smith cutting the Laois defence open for the goal.
Peter Creedon’s team came down from the second-tier last season and were looking for a strong start. Despite fielding an inexperienced side, seven of last year’s championship team started with Donie Kingston getting their first two points.
But Louth were in the ascendancy and went 1-8 to 0-3 ahead on 27 minutes with Burns, Bevan Duffy, Smith, McDonnell and Ruairi Moore finding the target with Danny Luttrell responding for Laois.
However, Laois played themselves back before half-time with a Kingston brace and one for Stephen Attride leaving them just 1-8 to 0-6 behind. And within four minutes of the restart, Duffy and Kingston traded points maintaining the five-point margin before Louth’s second burst.
Anthony Williams and Tommy Durnin pushed Colin Kelly’s team to double scores but when their opponents were carved open again on 50 minutes, McDonnell rattled the net for a 2-11 to 0-7 cushion.
Laois had nine first half wides but Louth also missed two goal chances. Gary Walsh, Kieran Lillis and Kingston completed Laois’ scoring and they also had Colm Begley sent off for a challenge on James Stewart. Burns, Williams, Smith, Durnin and Ross Nally closed out Louth’s impressive tally to give them the perfect start.
Louth – Paraic Smith 1-4, Andy McDonnell 1-1, Ryan Burns 0-3, Tommy Durnin 0-2, Anthony Williams 0-2, Bevan Duffy 0-2, Ross Nally 0-1, Ruairi Moore 0-1.
Laois – Donie Kingston 0-6, Gary Walsh 0-1, Stephen Attride 0-1, Danny Luttrell 0-1, Kieran Lillis 0-1.