Allianz FL D4: Laois triumph at Croke Park
Allianz Football League Division Four Final
LAOIS 0-15 CARLOW 0-11
By Paul Keane at Croke Park
Ross Munnelly and Donie Kingston led the line superbly at Croke Park as Laois capped promotion from Division 4 with the title outright.
Munnelly, 35, rolled back the years with an excellent display, opening the scoring and putting John Sugrue's side into a lead they would hold onto all the way until full-time.
Munnelly finished with four points, one less than Kingston who picked off some great points from distance.
Goalkeeper Graham Brody was named Man of the Match and pulled off one particularly excellent save in the second-half to deny Carlow the goal they craved.
Carlow played a counter attacking game again and will be satisfied with their work throughout spring which yielded a historic promotion.
They return to Championship duty on May 13 against Louth in Portlaoise, while Laois play Wexford a day earlier.
Munnelly's addition was one of two alternations to the official Laois lineup, replacing Gary Walsh, while Eoin Lowry came in for Evan O'Carroll.
Walsh had struck 4-41 in the league, 0-31 from placed balls, though Munnelly was an adequate replacement and he and Kingston lit up the first-half.
Between the duo they accounted for seven of Laois' 10 first-half points. Munnelly also created a point for Kingston and another for Kieran Lillis as Laois hinted that they would have it easier than last weekend's one-point Round 7 win.
Laois were shot shy in the second-half of that contest but hit the ground running here and deservedly led 0-10 to 0-5 at half-time.
Kingston, who hit four first-half points, might have netted in the 10th minute when his shot flashed just over after good work between Lillis and Munnelly.
Carlow got their opening score in the 17th minute through Darragh Foley and Brendan Murphy kicked a beauty soon after.
Murphy fed Foley for a score late in the half and full-back Shane Redmond pinched a point too but they were generally living off scraps up front.
Carlow enjoyed a good start to the second-half and outscored Laois by 0-3 to 0-1 to reduce the gap to just three points.
Sean Murphy, Sean Gannon and Foley all pointed in this period and Carlow began to believe again at just 0-11 to 0-8 down.
But they never managed to get any closer than that three-point margin as Laois responded with scores from Eoin Lowry and Munnelly again.
Ciaran Moran and Murphy had second-half goal chances for Carlow but couldn't convert. Paul Broderick was off target with a couple of frees too and it proved costly.
Carlow got back to three points down again in the 63rd minute but Laois gave themselves plenty of breathing space with scores from Kingston and Eoin Lowry.
Scorers for Laois: Donie Kingston 0-5 (2fs), Ross Munnelly 0-4 (2fs), Eoin Lowry 0-3 (1f), John O'Loughlin 0-1, Kieran Lillis 0-1, Alan Farrell 0-1.
*Scorers for Carlow: *Darragh Foley 0-3 (1f), Sean Gannon 0-3, Paul Broderick 0-2 (1f), Brendan Murphy 0-1, Shane Redmond 0-1, Sean Murphy 0-1.
LAOIS: Graham Brody; Stephen Attride, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Colm Begley, Robert Pigott; John O'Loughlin, Kieran Lillis; Alan Farrell, Benny Carroll, Brian Glynn; Eoin Lowry, Donie Kingston, Ross Munnelly.
Subs: Daniel O'Reilly for Carroll (52), Darren Strong for Glynn (60), David Conway for Munnelly (62), Niall Donoher for Pigott (66), Jamie Farrell for Kingston (72), Finbarr Crowley for Collins (72).
CARLOW: Robbie Molloy; Chris Crowley, Shane Redmond, Mark Rennick; Jordan Morrissey, Daniel St Ledger, Ciaran Moran; Brendan Murphy, Sean Murphy; Sean Gannon, Darragh Foley, Eoghan Ruth; Paul Broderick, Darragh O'Brien, John Murphy.
Subs: Cian Lawler for Rennick (56), Diarmuid Walshe for O'Brien (62), Kieran Nolan for Morrissey (66), Brendan Kavanagh for Moran (66), Lee Walker for Murphy (70).
REFEREE: Martin McNally (Monaghan).