Laois 1-26 Offaly 1-20
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
Laois gave themselves a chance of avoiding relegation to Division 2 of the Allianz Hurling League after a comfortable win over 13-man Offaly in O’Moore Park on Saturday night.
Coming off the back of last week’s loss against Kerry – when a second-half collapse saw them throw away a nine-point half-time lead – confidence was fragile facing into this clash with their midland neighbours.
And they got off to an awful start. Offaly raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after just two minutes, the goal coming when Oisin Kelly ghosted through.
But Laois settled into it soon enough and points from Stephen Maher and Cha Dwyer were followed quickly by a well-taken goal from Neil Foyle.
In a lively opening half the sides then traded scores for a while. But Laois then began to build up a head of steam. They hit five points in a row including two lovely scores from Cha Dwyer and one long-range effort from Willie Dunphy. Maher was also on target.
But the game’s biggest moment came when Cian Taylor – introduced early on for Matthew Whelan – was hacked down by Sean Gardiner. Referee Johnny Ryan issued a straight red card, Maher then added a couple of frees and at half time Laois led 1-12 to 1-8.
Laois got the first three points of the second half and whatever slim chance Offaly had was extinguished when Aidan Treacy was given his marching orders for an off the ball incident.
There was only one winner from there on.
Laois have a two-week break before hosting Limerick and a fighting chance of staying up.
SCORERS – Laois: Stephen Maher 0-12 (seven frees), Cha Dwyer 0-5, Ross King 0-3, Neil Foyle 1-0, Cian Taylor 0-2, Willie Dunphy 0-2, Paddy Whelan 0-1, Paddy Purcell 0-1 Offaly: Shane Dooley 0-10 (all frees), Oisin Kelly 1-2, Cillian Kiely 0-3, Peter Geraghty 0-2, Sean Cleary 0-2, Padraig Delaney 0-1
Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix)
Dwane Palmer (Camross)
Leigh Bergin (Shanahoe)
Padraig Lawlor (Ballinakill)
Cahir Healy (Portlaoise)
Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton)
Ryan Mullaney (Castletown)
Patrick Purcell (Rathdowney Errill)
Ben Conroy (Slieve Bloom)
Stephen Maher (Clough Ballacolla)
Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill)
Paddy Whelan (Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton)
Willie Dunphy (Clough Ballacolla)
Neil Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton)
Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill)
Cian Taylor (Portlaoise) for Whelan (23 mins)
Sean Downey (Ballinakill) for Lawlor (injured – 25 mins)
Aaron Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla) for Whelan (45 mins)
Aidan Corby (Clough-Ballacolla) for Conroy (60 mins)
Conor Phelan (Castletown) for Palmer (68 mins)
James Dempsey (Kinnitty)
Michael Cleary (Shinrone)
Conor Doughan (Shinrone)
Ben Conneely (St Rynagh’s)
Sean Ryan (Birr)
Dermot Short (St Rynagh’s)
Sean Gardiner (Lusmagh)
Aidan Treacy (St Rynagh’s)
Cillian Kiely (Kilcormac/Killoughey)
Paddy Murphy (Ballinamere)
Shane Dooley (Tullamore)
Oisín Kelly (Belmont)
Peter Geraghty (Kilcormac-Killoughey)
Sean Cleary (Shinrone)
James Mulrooney (Seir Kieran)
Emmet Nolan for Murphy (injured – 29 mins)
Padraig Delaney for Cleary (half time)
Enda Grogan for Mulrooney (47 mins)
Pauric Guinan for Conneely (53 mins)