A 13-point win in Portlaoise, thanks in part to goals from Luke Flynn and Kevin Flynn, allowed Kildare to jump from third to first position in Division 2 south, securing their semi-final spot.

Jack O'Connor's side were on top throughout and the big win allowed them to surge clear of both Clare and Cork in the table despite finishing on four points with the two Munster teams.

Kildare's reward is a Division 2 semi-final clash with Meath on the weekend of 12/13 June while Laois have finished rock bottom in the table after three defeats, meaning they will have a relegation play-off on the same weekend.

The all-Leinster tie will be a repeat of last winter's Leinster championship tie and the winners will advance to Division 1 for 2022.

Kildare will fancy their chances after a strong display at O'Moore Park with 10 different scorers and a 0-06 contribution from their bench.

Kildare started the day level on two points with Cork, two behind Clare, but with an inferior scoring difference to the Rebels, +1 for Kildare compared to +4 for Cork..

With Cork leading Clare elsewhere by a point at half-time and Kildare 1-07 to 0-04 ahead of Laois at the interval - tying up the top three teams - Kildare were suddenly second in the table on scoring difference.

Every single point clearly counted and while Kildare kicked a couple of bad early wides, former Under-20 star Brian McLoughlin booting two in particular, the Lilywhites were still well on top.

Three different Flynns - Neil, Kevin and Luke - all got on the scoresheet for Kildare with Luke's 32nd minute goal the pick of the bunch initially.

Darragh Kirwan did brilliantly in the build-up, splitting open the Laois defence with a clever handpass to Kevin Feely who bided his time before releasing Flynn to palm in.

It was second time lucky for midfielder Flynn because he almost got on the end of a similar Neil Flynn pass in the 25th minute but was thwarted on the goaline by a Kieran Lillis intervention.

Kildare over elaborated at times but did weave some terrific moves with Kevin Flynn and Feely dovetailing superbly and playing in Fergal Conway for one eye-catching score.

Former U20 Player of the Year Jimmy Hyland kicked two first-half points for Kildare too and looked sharp throughout.

Evan O'Carroll kicked a Laois point just second into the contest and booted another in the 14th minute but they were their only scores from play in the half.

Gary Walsh struck their two other points from frees but the hosts' challenge was undermined by seven first-half wides.

Kildare appeared to close the door in the third quarter with back to back Neil Flynn points and a Kevin Flynn goal.

The goal was a beauty, expertly finished by an overlapping Kevin Flynn who burst up the field to combine with Kirwan after an excellent turnover by Paul Cribbin at the back.

That left Kildare 2-09 to 0-06 ahead and in pole position to kick on for a big win but Cribbin then turned villain as the Lilies gifted Laois a goal.

It was bizarre from Cribbin who badly miscued an attempted pass across his own defence from a free, the ball easily gathered by Walsh who strode forward and booted to the net.

Eoin Lowry added a Laois point and the margin was now down to just five points.

It could have been just four moments later but Walsh kicked a scorable free wide and Kildare responded with points from sub Aaron Masterson and Neil Flynn, settling them.

Further points from Masterson and Hyland left Kildare at their ease again, eight clear at the hour mark.

Teenage sub Alex Beirne had a goal chance for Kildare but blasted across the face of the goal.

Kildare ultimately outscored Laois by 0-06 to 0-01 after the second water break with sub Shane O'Sullivan tagging on three excellent points.

Laois: Niall Corbett; Gareth Dillon, Mark Timmons, Robert Pigott; Seamus Lacey, Patrick O'Sullivan, Alan Farrell; Kieran Lillis, John O'Loughlin; Brian Byrne, Paul Kingston, Eoin Lowry (0-01); Daniel O'Reilly, Evan O'Carroll (0-02), Gary Walsh (1-05, 0-03f).

Subs: Brendan Carroll for O'Reilly (h/t); Mark Barry for Kingston (50); Eoin Buggie for O'Sullivan (54); Brian Daly for Byrne and Trevor Collins for Timmons (58); Sean Byrne for O'Loughlin and Ross Munnelly for Walsh (64).

Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O'Grady, David Hyland; Kevin Flynn (1-01), Eoin Doyle, Ryan Houlihan; Luke Flynn (1-00), Kevin Feely (0-01); Neil Flynn (0-04, 0-03f), Fergal Conway (0-01), Paul Cribbin; Brian McLoughlin (0-01), Darragh Kirwan, Jimmy Hyland (0-04, 1m, 1f).

Subs: Aaron Masterson (0-02) for Feely (h/t); Shane O'Sullivan (0-03, 0-01f) for McLoughlin (49); Alex Beirne for Kirwan (52); Paddy Brophy for Neil Flynn (58); Shea Ryan for Houlihan and Conor Hartley (0-01) for Cribbin (67).

Referee: Paul Faloon (Down).