Clare had reason to thank superstar forward Tony Kelly yet again with another match-winning haul as the Banner scraped past Laois to secure their place in Round 2 of the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers.

Kelly's 0-13 proved crucial as Clare, who played the second-half with 14 men after David McInerney's dismissal, just about bounced back from their Munster championship defeat to Limerick.

A statement of All-Ireland winning intention this certainly wasn't from Brian Lohan's men who were hanging on by their fingertips for a finish and were mightily relieved to hear the full-time whistle at Nowlan Park.

They'd led by seven at half-time and by six at the second water break but were under siege late on as raging underdogs Laois did themselves proud by battling all the way.

There will be stiffer opposition for Clare next weekend when they compete in Round 2 with All-Ireland holders Tipperary, Wexford and Cork/Dublin also in the hat for that draw.

McInerney will miss that game after this straight red card late in the first-half for an incident involving Laois' Mark Kavanagh though Clare will be just happy to progress. 

Rory Hayes in pursuit of Willie Dunphy

Laois may feel aggrieved that a 53rd minute Paddy Purcell goal was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up with only a point accruing in the end.

Clare's Former Hurler of the Year Kelly signposted his stunning form with 0-17 in the Munster championship defeat to Limerick and picked up where he left off in Thurles with an excellent start in Kilkenny.

Laois went with a sweeper again, deploying Jack Kelly in the role, while Padraig Delaney got the onerous task of man-marking Banner attacker Kelly.

Former All-Ireland winner Kelly escaped his man for three first-half points from play and added seven more from frees as Clare took a 0-16 to 1-06 lead at the interval.

Colin Guilfoyle and Paul Flanagan made their full Championship debuts for Clare while Aron Shanagher and Aidan McCarthy, who both came on in the defeat to Limerick, started too.

Guilfoyle and Shanagher were both on the mark in the first-half too though Clare took their time to break free of a determined Laois.

The underdogs led at the first water break and the sides were level on three occasions up to the 20th minute.

Ross King's fourth-minute goal gave Laois hope when he volleyed in from close range after Aaron Dunphy's initial shot hit the ground and bounced up kindly for him.

But free-taker King was taken off in the 23rd minute, with an apparent injury, and was replaced by Purcell, another key player who surprisingly didn't start.

Mark Kavanagh did at least start following injury and the team's top scorer from their 2019 Championship defeat of Dublin showed his ability with a point from a sideline cut late in the first-half.

Clare dominated Laois in the second quarter of the game and outscored the Leinster outfit by 0-09 to 0-02 from the 20th minute to seize the momentum and that seven-point half-time lead.

It looked like they might lift from there and put real daylight between the teams but Laois, with the extra man, were much improved in the third quarter.

They got the deficit down to two points on two different occasions in the third quarter with their comeback ignited by James Keyes' excellent goal early in the second-half.

Laois took sweeper Kelly off at half-time and Lee Cleere assumed the duties while Clare's Kelly, for his part, played in a deeper role around midfield in the second-half.

He was powerless to prevent that Laois onslaught through back-to-back points from the Ballyea man, followed by the same from Shanagher, put Clare in the clear again.

They led by six points at the second water break, 0-23 to 2-11, but couldn't power on for a convincing win as anticipated.

Instead, Laois piled on the pressure and Kelly ended up man-marking the influential Delaney who set up one free that was converted by Laois before scoring a point himself.

Aaron Dunphy blasted a third goal for Laois in the 68th minute and they had the margin back to just one point late on following three points in a row from Delaney, Purcell and Kavanagh but the full-time whistle saved Clare.

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Rory Hayes (0-01), Conor Cleary; Paul Flanagan; Stephen O'Halloran, Seanda Morey (0-02), Aidan McCarthy (0-01, 0-01f); David McInerney (0-02), David Reidy; Cathal Malone (0-02), Tony Kelly (0-13, 0-09f), Colin Guilfoyle (0-01); Aron Shanagher (0-03), Shane O'Donnell, Ryan Taylor (0-02).

Subs: Shane Golden for Reidy 53, Diarmuid Ryan for Guilfoyle 56, Gary Cooney for Taylor 62, Aaron Cunningham for Shanagher 67.

Laois: Enda Rowland; Lee Cleere, Donnchadh Hartnett, Sean Downey; Jack Kelly (0-01); Ryan Mullaney, Padraig Delaney (0-01), Eric Killeen; Fiachra C Fennell, James Keyes (1-01); Aaron Dunphy (1-01), Mark Kavanagh (0-06, 0-03f, 0-01 s/l), Colm Stapleton; Ross King (1-02, 0-02f), Willie Dunphy (0-02).

Subs: Patrick Purcell (0-02) for King 23, Stephen Maher for Kelly h/t, Ciaran McEvoy (0-01) for Killeen 49, Conor Phelan for Downey 66, Mark Hennessy for Maher 70.

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).