Eoin Lowry was the late goal scoring hero as John Sugrue's Laois defeated Derry by four points in a tight game at Owenbeg.

Lowry only entered the fray with nine minutes remaining but with six minutes left and Derry one point to the good at 0-12 to 0-11, the substitute latched on to Martin Scully's through ball to slide a fine, low finish under Thomas Mallon for a goal Derry couldn't recover from.

The goal was harsh on the home side but Laois always looked the more likely goal scorers and ran out deserved winners.

The visitors started with Donie Kingston occupying the centre half-forward role but it was the home side who looked more impressively in the early exchanges.

Deploying Shane McGuigan and Benny Heron as a two-man full-forward line, Derry were two points up inside three minutes thanks to scores from Ryan Bell and McGuigan from a free. 

Laois were settling though and in full-forward Colm Murphy, they had a man causing Derry all sorts of problems. Murphy opened the Laois account in the fifth minute before Evan O'Carroll somehow missed his shot when the ensuing Derry kick-out went straight to him seconds later.

He made amends though inside three minutes with a ninth minute equaliser and the dye was cast for a half in which there would be nothing between the teams.

McGuigan somehow miscued an easy 20m free into Laois keepers hand before a flowing Derry moved ended with McGuigan teeing up Heron to edge Derry back in front. 

As the half wore on, Laois withdrew in a more defensive formation but their ability to break at pace was causing Derry, who were bossing possession, plenty of trouble. 

Two points from the excellent Murphy had the visitors in the lead for the first time at 0-04 to 0-03 before Derry tied the game again after Laois full-back Denis Booth was yellow carded but a cynical foul on McGuigan who tapped the free over.

Collins and Bell swapped scores before O'Carroll and McGuigan did likewise to maintain the status quo at 0-06 apiece.

Derry Ciaran McFaul scored the goal of the half when he won a Laois kick-out and meandered through three tackles before kicking a beauty against the breeze and when Niall Keenan won loose ball to set-up Heron,Derry had a two point lead going into first half injury time.

The last say of the half however went to Laois and Daniel O'Reilly who split the posts after a great run to leave only the minimum between the teams at 0-8 to 0-7.

Derry introduced Eoghan Concannon for McGoldrick at half-time and the substitute was handed the job of stopping Murphy but despite enjoying the breeze second half, Laois could have hit the net three times with Derry indebted to some superb goalkeeping from Thomas Mallon.

Chrissy McKaigue had started the half with a lovely run and point but Laois took over for 10 minutes. Two Donie Kingston frees levelled matters before Paul Kingston's long ball in saw Murphy hold off Concannon, turn and flash a shot inches wide of the far post.

That was close but closer was to follow. 

Derry were unable to win their kick-out, John O'Loughlin setting off toward the posts before O'Carroll's centre perfectly picked out Murphy only yards from the goal line. The full forward met it full on with the fists but Mallon somehow blocked the effort before getting down to block Murphy's second effort and the ball squirmed only  inches from the line. 

That save looked even more valuable when Bell squeezed over a free from south of 40m to edge Derry 0-10  to 0-09 in front second before an excellent Mallon save denied O'Carroll. 

Donie Kingston and Robert Piggott were both black carded for Laois, Kingston for a trip of McFaul and Piggott for a cynical foul of the breaking Heron but Laois were in the ascendancy.

Point were traded until McGuigan edged Derry in front at 0-12 to 0-11 with a close range free before Lowry struck the critical blow with five to play.

Even with six minutes of injury-time, the goal left Derry too much to do, especially with McFaul's loose pass out of defence gave Kieran Lillis an opportunity to score which he didn't pass up.

A late red card for McFaul for an off the ball incident didn't help Oak Leaf hopes. Lowry's late free sealed the deal but his goal won the game.

Derry: Thomas Mallon; Karl McKaigue, Brendan Rogers, Liam McGoldrick; Jason Rocks, Christopher McKaigue (0-01), Niall Keenan; Conor McAtamney, Ciaran McFaul (0-01); Jack Doherty, Benny Heron (0-02), Padraig Cassidy; Shane McGuigan (0-04, 4f), Ryan Bell (0-03, 2f), Enda Lynn.

Subs: Eoghan Concannon for L McGoldrick, HT;  Patrick Coney for J Rocks, 44mins; Conor Doherty for J Doherty, 54; Christopher Bradley for R Bell, 55mins; Sean F Quinn for E Concannon, 57mins;

Laois: Graham Brody, Stephen Attride, Denis Booth, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins (0-01), Robert Pigott, Patrick O'Sullivan; John O'Loughlin, Kieran Lillis (0-01); Daniel O'Reilly (0-01), Connor Boyle, Donie Kingston (0-04, 3f); Paul Kingston, Colm Murphy (0-03), Evan O'Carroll (0-02, 1f).

Subs: Sean Byrne for D Nooth, HT; Martin Scully for P Kingston, 49mins; Eoin Buggie for P O'Sullivan, 52mins; Eoin Lowry (1-01, 1f) for E O'Carroll, 61mins; Mark Barry for D Kingston (Black Card), 61mins

Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)