All-Ireland champions Dublin survived a ferocious challenge from Laois on a 1-12 to 0-12 scoreline to set up a semi-final clash with Mayo.
Michael Darragh Macauley’s 27th minute deflected goal edged the Dubs in front after the sides had been level six times, and they led by 1-6 to 0-7 at the break. Ross Munnelly (0-6) and Colm Kelly (0-3) kept Laois in touch right to the end.
But Dublin were able to keep their noses in front, and clinched their place in the last four when goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton converted a stoppage time ’45, his third score of the game.
Early points were exchanged between Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Bernard Brogan and Laois pair Colm Kelly and Ross Munnelly, and the sides were level on five occasions in the opening 22 minutes.
Brogan clipped over a couple of frees, but Laois responded with scores from Gary Walsh and Colm Begley.
Cluxton edged the All-Ireland champions back in front from a ’45 in the 24th minute, and they went three in front with a 27th minute Michael Darragh Macauley goal.
There was a touch of good fortune about the score, but much credit must go to Macauley, who started the move in his own half, linking with Eoghan O’Gara, before his attempted fisted point was deflected to the net by defender John O’Loughlin.
Laois dispensed with the sweeper system that has been their trademark for much of the season, and in the latter stages of the half, adopted a long ball strategy which returned little in the way of success, with Kevin Nolan and Rory O’Carroll fetching ahead of target man Padraign Clancy.
Clancy did provide the knock-down for Gary Walsh’s second point in the stroke of half-time, with the Dubs taking a 1-6 to 0-7 lead into the interval.
Billy Sheehan dropped back as an extra defender, but Dublin stretched their lead with scores from Cluxton (free) and Flynn.
Skipper Kevin Meaney made a couple of important interventions at the back as the O’Moore men faced up to a Dublin onslaught, surviving without major damage.
And they narrowed the gap back to a single point with converted frees from Kelly, who thumped over a monster from 50 metres, and Munnelly.
Dublin, with Eamon Fennell doing the business at midfield and Nolan prompting from the back, were creating the chances, but O’Gara and Flynn blazed badly wide during another spell of dominance.
Brogan did his best to settle jangling nerves, sending another free sailing between the posts at the Canal End as the game slipped into its final 10 minutes, but Laois were far from finished.
Munnelly nailed his fifth point from a free, but they were forced to commit extra bodies to the defensive effort as the champions swept forward again.
Nolan got forward to kick over a point, making it a three point game with five to play, and Laois had nothing left to give.
Dublin scorers: MD Macauley 1-0, B Brogan 0-4 (3f), S Cluxton 0-3 (1f, 2 ’45) P Flynn 0-2, E O’Gara, K Nolan, D Bastick 0-1 each.
Laois scorers: R Munnelly 0-6 (5f), C Kelly 0-3 (3f), G Walsh 0-2 C Begley 0-1.
Dublin: S Cluxton, M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, P McMahon, J McCarthy, K Nolan, C O’Sullivan, E Fennell, D Bastick, P Flynn, D Connolly, B Cullen, B Brogan, M D Macauley, E O’Gara.
Subs: C Kilkenny for Connolly, K McManamon for Bastick, G Brennan for McMahon, T Quinn for Brogan, J McCaffrey for O’Gara
Laois: E Culliton, C Healy, K Meaney, P O’Leary. D Strong, J O’Loughlin, C Boyle, B Quigley, C Begley, R Munnelly, G Walsh, D O’Connor, B Sheehan, P Clancy, C Kelly.
Subs: P McMahon for Walsh, MJ Tierney for O’Connor, P Cahillane for Kelly, K Lillis for Sheehan, S O’Leary for McMahon
Referee: C Reilly (Meath).