Allianz HL D1B: Dublin finish strongly
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
DUBLIN 0-13 LAOIS 0-11
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park
Determined Dublin dug deep at a rain sodden Parnell Park to claim a gutsy win and top spot in Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League, a position they may yet retain.
A week on from outscoring Waterford down the stretch in their Round 4 encounter, Mattie Kenny's men once again came up with the all important late scores to secure their fourth win.
They trailed a game Laois side by a point in the 66th minute but back to back points from former All-Star Danny Sutcliffe and the insurance score from Sean Moran sealed the victory.
It leaves Dublin on top of 1B and they will remain there if Waterford defeat Galway in their outstanding game though Galway will finish top if they win that game.
Dublin are through to the quarter-finals regardless while Laois, in Eddie Brennan's first season as manager, are also through to the knock-out stages despite the defeat.
The visitors finished with 14 men at the Dublin venue following Charles Dwyer's dismissal mid-way through the second-half for a second caution.
Dublin came into the contest buoyed by that win over Waterford and made two late changes to the official lineup with captain Chris Crummey and speedy forward Eamonn Dillon replaced by James Madden and Donal Burke.
It was Laois, with just one win from four beforehand, that impressed most initially and they opened up a 0-7 to 0-3 lead after 16 minutes with a series of long range points.
Dublin goalkeeper Sean Brennan, who replaced Alan Nolan between the sticks, pulled off three saves during the first-half as Laois attempted to press home their advantage.
The visitors strangely didn't score again in the half after moving into that 16th minute lead with Dublin instead reeling off three points, all from free-taker David Treacy.
It left Laois with a mere 0-7 to 0-6 half-time advantage when it should have been more and Dublin sneaked ahead after the restart with points from sub Oisin O'Rorke and Shane Barrett.
With the rain continuing to fall, it was tough going for both sets of players who struggled to keep their feet and to master the basic skills.
The sides were level three times in the final 20 minutes or so before Dublin edged clear thanks to those back to back Sutcliffe scores, both coming in the 66th minute.
Laois were down to 14 men at that stage following Dwyer's 57th minute red card following his second booking and Dublin sealed the win when centre-back Moran converted a 65 in the 70th minute.
Scorers for Dublin: David Treacy 0-3 (3fs), Danny Sutcliffe 0-3, Oisin O'Rorke 0-2, Sean Moran 0-2 (2fs), John Hetherton 0-1, Shane Barrett 0-1, Cian Boland 0-1
Scorers for Laois: Mark Kavanagh 0-4 (3fs), Charles Dwyer 0-2, Sean Downey 0-1, Willie Dunphy 0-1, Aaron Dunpny 0-1, Enda Rowland 0-1 (f), Paddy Purcell 0-1.
DUBLIN: Sean Brennan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O'Donnell, James Madden; Daire Gray, Sean Moran, Shane Barrett; Jake Malone, Riain McBride; John Hetherton, Danny Sutcliffe, David Treacy; Paul Ryan, Liam Rushe, Donal Burke.
Subs: Oisin O'Rorke for Ryan (h/t), Cian Boland for Malone (47), Eamonn Dillon for Burke (47), Ronan Hayes for Hetherton (53), Fergal Whitely for Treacy (64).
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Joe Phelan, Matthew Whelan, Donncha Hartnett; Padraig Delaney, Ryan Mullaney, Lee Cleere; Sean Downey, Willie Dunphy; Aaron Dunphy, Mark Kavanagh, Charles Dwyer; Paddy Purcell, Neil Foyle, Stephen Maher.
Subs: Stephen Bergin for Willie Dunphy (24), Jack Kelly for Maher (52), Patrick Keating for Foyle (62), Conor Phelan for Downey (73).
REFEREE: Liam Gordon (Galway).