Laois' Matthew Byron makes the winning save in the penalty shootout. Evan Treacy/INPHO

Laois book O'Byrne Cup final date with Dublin after edging out Kildare in penalty shootout

Paul Cribbin missed the decisive penalty for Kildare as Laois advanced.

Kildare 1-6

Laois 0-9

(Laois win 6-5 on penalties)

Brendan Graham reports at Netwatch Cullen Park

LAOIS ADVANCED TO the O’Byrne Cup final after winning a penalty shootout to defeat Kildare in a semi-final which ended in a draw at full-time.

Sean Moore put Laois ahead inside just two minutes with a close range free following a soft foul on Ross Munnelly.

Laois were at it from the start setting the tone with a real hunger and urgency early on. Two composed Moore points either side of a stylish Woodgate score had Laois leading 0-02 to 0-01 after ten minutes.

Despite Kildare enjoying a physical advantage, Laois didn’t let it affect them and let their football do the talking. Lillis and Lowry caught Kildare on the break before linking up brilliantly for a score just before the first water break. Laois led by two.

With 23 minutes played and completely against the run of play Kildare had the ball in the back of the net through Daniel Flynn. A speculative effort from distance by Flynn looked to be edging side but went straight over the head of Byron and into the corner of the net. Kildare taking the lead for the first time in the game.

Despite sitting right back and allowing Kildare to dominate the remainder of the half Evan O’Carroll and Sean Moore kicked two excellent points in the space of a minute to leave Kildare ahead by one at the break

Laois began the second half exactly as they did the first. Superior intensity in their play and a real urgency once they carried the ball into the Kildare half. The Laois half-back line worked tirelessly all evening winning a huge amount of breaking ball towards the middle of the field.

Evan O’Carroll was finding huge pockets of space as the second half progressed and kicked two hugely impressive scores to leave the sides level as the game entered the final fifteen minutes

Scores were few and far between in the closing stages with both sides shooting some very early season type shots in search of a winner. Kieran Lillis had the crowd on their feet in the second half and showed real leadership in midfield to keep the Laois fight intact late into the game.

With neither side able to find a breakthrough, an entertaining fixture went all the way to a shootout. Scores and misses a plenty until Paul Cribbin missed the decisive penalty for Kildare.

Laois will play Dublin in the final this Saturday.

Kildare: Mark Donnellan; David Randles, Mike Joyce, Tom Harrington; David Hyland, James Murray, Tony Archbold; Liam Power, Tadhg Hoey; Davy O’Neill, Eoghan Lawless, Kevin Flynn; Paddy Woodgate, Daniel Flynn, Jimmy Flynn

Scorers: Paddy Woodgate (0-5, 3f)), Daniel Flynn (1-0), Jack Sargent (0-1)

Laois: Matthew Byron; James Kelly, Trevor Collins, Alex Mohan; Sean O’Flynn, John O’Loughlin, Gareth Dillon; Kieran Lillis, James Finn; Brian Byrne, Eoin Lowry, Patrick O’Sullivan; Ross Munnelly, Evan O’Carroll, Sean Moore

Scorers: Sean Moore (0-4 2f), Eoin Lowry (0-1), Evan O’Carroll (0-3), Gareth Dillon (0-1)

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