Kildare 1-11 Laois 0-17

Kildare's defence of their Leinster and All-Ireland Under-20 titles came to a shuddering halt when they went down to Laois by three points at St Conleth's Park.

Ten points from the boot of Diarmuid Whelan was influential in the result as Laois deservedly dumped last year’s champions out at the first time of asking.

The O'Moore County were much the better side and if anything the three-point winning margin rather flatters Kildare as the visitors reigned supreme.

Their second half performance was particularly striking as they dominated a poor Kildare side all over the field. 

A second-minute Luke Griffin free opened the scoring as the hosts made a bright start to the game but just seconds later Laois's Alan Kinsella found Dan McCormack behind the Kildare rearguard and if it wasn’t for a great block by Mark Barrett the O’Moore County could have taken advantage.

Jack Cully from a free and Liam O’Flynn from play extended the lead for Gay Campbell’s outfit before Laois got on the board with a Whelan placed ball.

Cully then had a glorious chance to goal when he turned his man inside but a tame effort resulted in an easy save for Matthew Byron.

Darragh Kirwan soon made it 0-04 to 0-01 with an attempt from distance but three consecutive Laois scores levelled up matters with a brace from Whelan adding to a Michael Doran score.

Kildare looked like they were going to kick on as points from Joyce, Brian McDonnell and Griffin gave them a double score buffer but Laois were back within a point by the break after Whelan, Eoin Dunne and Doran found the target leaving Kildare with an 0-08 to 0-07 lead.

Dean Brophy equalised within two minutes of the restart before both sides went through a barren spell kicking a number of wides.

Whelan eventually broke the ceiling with the first of five second-half scores and with Kildare dropping a couple of attempts short, the corner forward found the target twice more as Billy O’Loughlins team went three points to the good.

Kirwan replied with a point but the home side were all over the place in the second half and Laois made a run for home with three scores points courtesy of Whelan, Doran and Ronan Coffey.

Another Kirwan effort kept Kildare in touch but Laois were much the better side and they finished with points from their two best players, Doran and Whelan.

Kildare got a fortunate late penalty which Luke Griffin converted but time was well up at that stage as Laois booked a quarter-final spot against Westmeath.

Kildare: Aaron O'Neill; Niall O’Sullivan, Mark Barrett, Caolan Halpin, Evin McGovern, DJ Earley, Daragh Ryan, James Carey, James Burke, Liam O’Flynn 0-1, Darragh Kirwan 0-3, Brian McDonnell 0-1, Colm Joyce 0-2, Jack Cully 0-2 (0-1f), Luke Griffin 1-2 (0-2fs).

Subs used: Sean Cullen for O’Flynn 38 mins, Paidi Behan for Carey 40 mins, Shane O’Sullivan for Joyce 40 mins, Brian Stynes for Halpin (Black Card) 45 mins, Paddy McDermott for McGovern 51 mins, Adam Steed for McDonnell 57 mins.

Laois: Matthew Byron; Michael Dowling, Seamus Lacey, Alex Mohan, Colin Slevin, Jack Lacey, Dean Brophy 0-1, Robert Tyrrell, Eoin Dunne 0-1 (0-1 45), Ronan Coffey 0-1, Michael Doran 0-4, Niall Dunne, Alan Kinsella, Dan McCormack, Diarmuid Whelan 0-10 (0-3fs)

Subs used: Jack Owens for McCormack 48 mins, Michael Dempsey for Dunne 58 mins, PJ Daly for Doran 60 mins, Jason Maher for Kinsella 61 mins, Kevin Byrne for Slevin 64 mins.

Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin)