Kildare have given their hopes of survival in Allianz League Division Two a timely boost with a comfortable defeat of their accommodating neighbours across the border.
The Lilywhites must love the sight of those blue and white jerseys now. Laois have beaten them just once across a plethora of League and Championship meetings this past decade and they were second best from first whistle to last in a fixture that was put back from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon because of Storm Jorge.
The victory leaves Jack O’Connor’s side on four points now and, with two home games against Cavan and Westmeath to come, safety is still well within their compass despite what has been a fitful few months to date.
Kildare certainly played like a team with their backs to the wall. They came out in a blitz, hitting Mike Quirke’s Laois for four unanswered points. It was actually a combination of what they did well and what their hosts did badly.
Laois were so, so sluggish from the start, wiping the sleep from their eyes while Kildare had the breakfast made and the papers read. It was ten minutes before they had a score and they would struggle for more as the afternoon wore on.
They should really have been put to bed by the interval.
Kildare, not for the first time, were hindering their own chances with a succession of poor choices and worse execution in front of goal. Twelve shots went wide or short in the opening 35 minutes alone. The tally would be 18 by the end.
Unforgiveable stuff but a first-world problem given their opponents’ stutters.
Laois were struggling to just get a sight of goal at the other end. They had shots blocked three times in the first half and an effort that fell fortuitously at the feet of Eoin Lowry batted away by Mark Donnellan between the sticks.
Even O’Carroll had another opportunity at finding the net on the half-hour but he seemed to slip as he sent the ball a mile over the bar. Unlike Lowry’s effort, that at least was a result of good positive play.
It was a rare sight.
Kildare led by eight points to four at the break and they stretched that to seven by the time a largely uneventful third quarter had been consigned to the past. Laois managed just the one score in that period, from a Niall Corbet free.
Mike Quirke’s side has blown hot and cold in this division but, though they have five points to their name, they are not out of the woods in terms of relegation just yet and trips to Westmeath and Fermanagh await.
Scorers for Laois: E O’Carroll (0-4, 0-2 frees); N Corbet (0-2 frees); S Flynn and B Byrne, K Lillis and J O’Loughlin (all 0-1).
Sxcorers for Kildare: A Tyrrell (0-4, 0-3 frees); P Brophy (0-3); P Cribbin (0-2); K Feely (0-2, 0-1 free); K Flynn, L Power, N Kelly and N Flynn (all 0-1).
Laois: N Corbet; T Collins, R Pigott, G Hanrahan; S O’Flynn, P O’Sullivan, M Timmons; J O’Loughlin, K Lillis; S Byrne, E Lowry, D O’Connor; R Munnelly, C Murphy, E O’Carroll.
Subs: M Berry for O’Connor (42); M Keogh for Munnelly (46); B Carroll for Murphy and G Walsh for Lowry (both 55); B Byrne for S Byrne (68);
Kildare: M Donnellan; M O’Grady, S Ryan, E Doyle; D Aylward, C Kavanagh, K Flynn; K Feely, T Moolick; L Power, P Cribbin, P Brophy; A Tyrrell, D Flynn,N Kelly.
Subs: C Hartley for Power (48); K Cribbin for P Cribbin (56); J Robinson for Kelly (64); J Hyland for Flynn (68); N Flynn for Tyrrell (70);
Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).