Laois 2-22 Offaly 0-14
Leinster MHC Round 1
The Laois minor hurlers recorded a 14-point win over Offaly in the opening round of the Leinster MHC on a glorious Saturday afternoon in O’Moore Park.
Offaly came into the game as warm favourites and they took an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead. But Laois soon settled and with Oisin Bennett unerring from frees and dual star Ciaran Comerford causing all sorts of problems, they began to take over from there on.
Colt’s James Keyes got the first of his three points and Bennett (free) and Comerford had them level at 0-4 each by the 13th minute.
Aaron Kenny edged Offaly ahead but Laois hit a real purple patch to put daylight between the sides.
Comerford and Bennett (free) put them into the lead for the first time and then Bennett set Joe Phelan up for a brilliantly-taken goal. Comerford and Bennett were on target again before Daniel Comerford (Ciaran’s twin) had them 1-9 to 0-5 up.
An excellent point from Offaly midfielder Conor Langton broke the sequence and two David Nally frees had the gap back to four before Laois captain and centre-back Padraig Delaney responded with a long-range free. Another Aaron Kenny free for Offaly meant that Laois led 1-10 to 0-9 at the break.
With the wind at the backs in the second half, Laois made full use of it. Delaney was on target with another free before Oisin Bennett pounced in the square to kick to the net. A scrappy goal perhaps, but it left Offaly with a mountain to climb.
Comerford, PJ Daly and Bennett stretched Laois even further clear before Offaly rallied somewhat.
But Laois outscored Offaly by 0-8 to 0-3 – with points from Keyes (two), Bennett, Ciaran Comerford (two), Liam Senior, Brandon McGinley and another Padraig Delaney free – in the final quarter to set up a Round 2 meeting with Dublin next Saturday.
A win in that game would put Laois into a Leinster semi-final but they will revert to a quarter-final should they lose. Wexford play Kilkenny in the same stage as the Laois-Dublin clash while Offaly meet Kildare and Westmeath play Meath.
The winners of the Westmeath-Meath and Offaly-Kildare games will play the losers of Laois-Dublin and Wexford-Kilkenny in the Leinster quarter-finals.
SCORERS – Laois: Oisin Bennett 1-6 (0-6 frees), Ciaran Comerford 0-6, Joe Phelan 1-0, James Keyes 0-3, Padraig Delaney 0-3 (one ’65, two frees), PJ Daly, Daniel Comerford, Liam Senior, Brandon McGinley 0-1. Offaly: Aaron Kenny 0-4 (all frees), David Nally 0-3 (both frees), Oisin Hickey 0-2, Conor Langton, Joey Keenaghan, Lochlann Kavanagh, Aaron Maher and Shane O’Toole 0-1 each
LAOIS: Cathal Dunne (Clough-Ballacolla); Daniel Breen (Camross), Diarmuid Conway (Clough-Ballacolla), John Maher (Rosenallis); Ryan Murphy (Galmoy), Padraig Delaney (The Harps), Eoin O’Connor (Portlaoise); PJ Daly (Clonad), Liam Senior (Clonaslee-St Manman’s); Ciaran Comerford (The Harps), Joe McCormack (Castletown), Daniel Comerford (The Harps); James Keyes (Colt), Oisin Bennett (Camross), Joe Phelan (Castletown). Subs: Brandon McGinley (Rathdowney-Errill) for Phelan (41 mins), Eoin Gaughaun (Camross) for O’Connor (53 mins), Cathal Duggan (Portlaoise) for McCormack (54 mins), Padraig Dunne (The Harps) for Murphy (57 mins), Cormac Rigney for Bennett (59 mins)
OFFALY: Ciaran Flynn (St Ryanagh’s); Luke O’Connor (St Ryanagh’s), Cathal O’Meara (Clara), Aidan King (Carrig and Riverstown); Ciaran Guinan (Drumcullen), Barry Keeley (Seir Kieran), Ryan Hogan (Carrig and Riverstown); Conor Langton (Clodiagh Gaels), Kevin McDermott (Durrow); Aaron Maher (Ballinamere), Oisin Hickey (St Ryanagh’s), David Nally (Belmont); Lochlann Kavanagh (Kilcormac-Killoughey), Aaron Kenny (St Ryanagh’s), Shane O’Toole (Shamrocks). Subs: Joey Keenaghan for O’Toole (26 mins), Hogan (35 mins)