Henderson saves the day for Armagh
Laois 0-12 Armagh 0-13
Clan Eireann forward, Ryan Henderson, proved to be the match winner for Armagh with a last-gasp point that ensured the Orchard County victory against a determined Laois at Portlaoise.
He struck as Clare referee Rory Hickey was counting down the final seconds of this fiercely fought contest at O’Moore Park.
In a patient build-up, Aaron Kernan fed the ball to Henderson on the left and he struck a curling shot over the bar to confirm a win that Armagh looked like throwing away.
Steven McDonnell, continuing on from his performance against Westmeath where he scored 1-9 from play, notched six first half points as the Laois back line struggled to cope with the visitors slick interplay.
After Kevin Meaney and Tierney established a fragile 0-3 0-2 lead by the ninth minute, Armagh were never behind again and in spite of tough tackling from Mark Timmons, Darren Strong, and Cahir Healy, the Ulster men began to play more free-flowing football when Vinne Martin was red-carded on 25 minutes.
The Dromintee player had just replaced injured clubmate Kevin Dyas when he clashed with Meaney, who himself received a yellow card. A minute before the break, Meaney was dismissed following a needless foul on Malachy Mackin.
In the second half, Laois introduced under-21 star Donnie Kingston at full forward for Paul Lalor with immediate effect. Kingston, Tierney and Billy Sheehan tore into Andy Mallon, Brendan Donaghy and Paul Duffy to gain four unanswered points by the 45th minute.
But Mackin’s confident strike followed by McDonnell and Henderson efforts restored a three-point margin. Laois cranked up the pressure and were level again with two minutes to go from a surging Timmons run and finish.
However Armagh’s resilience and Henderson's chance to redeem himself brought the final reward with the last kick of the game.
Laois: Dowling, Scully, Timmons (0-1), P. McMahon, Strong (0-1), Healy, Begley, Quigley, Greene, O’Leary (0-1), Meaney (0-1), Donoher, Tierney (0-3), Lalor (0-1), Sheehan(0-2). Subs: Kingston 0-2 (for Lalor), Rogers (for Donoher).
Armagh: McEvoy, Mallon, Donaghy, Duffy, Dyas, McKeever, Moriarity, Lavery, Toner, Feeney (0-1), Mackin (0-1), Kernan (0-1), Henderson (0-2), Clarke (0-1), McDonnell (0-7). Subs: Martin (for Dyas), Mallon (for Clarke), Austin (for Lavery).
Referee: R. Hickey (Clare).