All square as five-star Derry make their point in Laois draw
Laois 1-22 Derry 5-10
It was honours even at O'Moore Park when a James Kielt point for Derry, deep into injury time, levelled a wonderfully open game of football.
Laois, racking up that huge score, will feel they really should have won this one but Derry's ability to carve open goal chances, with Danny Heavron and Christopher Bradley scoring a brace apiece, earned Damian Barton's side a share of the spoils in this end-to-end clinker.
When Shane Heavron stepped up to arrow a penalty into the top left hand corner of Graham Brody's net with all the precision of a surgeon's scalpel, it put an altogether rosier complexion on a first half that belonged to Laois. A Karl McKaigue point and Heavron's goal, however, handed the visitors a much needed lifeline and brought them right back into contention, trailing just 1-10 to 2-06 at the break.
However, showing serious reserves of character Derry drew level through a superb Heavron goal. The home side then countered swiftly, as they had done all game, and edged ahead through Conor Meredith.
The home side impressed throughout the second half and nailed some mighty points to keep their noses in front. However, when they needed them most Derry found their goals with 'Sammy' Bradley (twice) and Danny Heavron, again, both raising the green flag to peg Laois back at the death. What a game.
Scorers: Laois: John O'Loughlin 0-5, Evan O'Carroll 0-4 (0-3f), Paul Kingston 1-0, Paul Cahillane 0-2 (0-1f), Conor Meredith 0-2, Darren Strong 0-2, Niall Donoher 0-2, Brendan Quigley 0-1, Gary Walsh 0-1
Derry: Christopher Bradley 2-1, Danny Heavron 2-0, Shane Heavron 1-2 (0-2f), Ryan Bell 0-3f, Emmett Bradley 0-1, Karl McKaigue 0-1, Cailean O'Boyle 0-1, James Kielt 0-1
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wexford)