Laois 1-19 Meath 1-14
Leinster MHC Quarter-final
The Laois minor hurlers will play Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final after surviving a nervous second-half against Meath in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
Laois played with the aid of a massive breeze in the first half – and they made full advantage of it. But they needed every score they got as Meath dominated the second half and eat away at Laois’s lead.
An Oisin Bennett free from almost half way got the scoring underway and Ciaran Comerford burst into life soon after, getting the first point of his eventual 1-7 tally. He pointed either side of a PJ Daly effort and although Meath responded with the first of Mickey Mullen’s points, Comerford responded with two and his twin brother Daniel added another.
Another Mullen free brought it back to 0-7 to 0-2 but from Cathal Dunne’s massive puckout, Comerford made a fine catch, turned and buried his shot in the back of the Meath net. That put Laois eight points up and while Mullen again replied with a free, Laois hit the next six points.
Joe Phelan, Ciaran Comerford, James Keyes, Eoin Gaughan and captain Padraig Delaney all pointed from play as Laois went 1-13 to 0-3 up. Mullen got his fourth point from a placed ball but again Laois hit back – Ciaran Comerford with two more and James Keyes with one. Meath’s Jacob Ryan got his side’s first point from play and at the break Laois led 1-16 to 0-5.
With the wind at their back, Meath came storming back in the second half. Brian Dowling pounced for a goal in the 37th minute after Mullen free dropped short and although Cathal Duggan and a Bennett free settled Laois somewhat but Meath weren’t for lying down.
They hit six points on the trot to reduce the gap to six with seven minutes remaining.
But Bennett popped up with another free and Laois had enough in the tank to hold on.
Laois will now play Kilkenny in the Leinster semi-final on May 13.
SCORERS – Laois: Ciaran Comerford 1-7, Oisin Bennett 0-3 (all frees), James Keyes 0-2, Cathal Duggan, Joe McCormack, Joe Phelan, Daniel Comerford, Eoin Gaughan, Padraig Delaney, PJ Daly 0-1 each. Meath: Mickey Mullen 0-8 (seven frees, one ’65), Brian Dowling 1-0, Adam Murphy 0-2, Jacob Ryan 0-2, Evan Fitzgerald, Nicky Potterton 0-1 each
LAOIS: Cathal Dunne (Clough-Ballacolla); Daniel Breen (Camross), John Maher (Rosenallis), Eoin Carey (Portlaoise); Ryan Murphy (Galmoy), Padraig Delaney (The Harps), Eoin O’Connor (Portlaoise); PJ Daly (Clonad), Eoin Gaughan (Camross); Ciaran Comerford (The Harps), Joe McCormack (Castletown), Daniel Comerford (The Harps); James Keyes (Colt), Oisin Bennett (Camross), Joe Phelan (Castletown). Subs: Cathal Duggan (Portlaoise) for Phelan (26 mins), Brandon McGinley (Rathdowney-Errill) for Gaughan (49 mins), Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise) for Bennett (60 mins), Odhran Phelan (Camross) for Daly (62 mins)
MEATH: Aaron Dunne; Brian O’Reilly, Cormac Butler, Sean Coffey; Jamie Connolly, David McGowan, Brian Kelly; Evan Fitzgerald, Darren Hennessy; Jacob Ryan, Adam Murphy, Jamie Leavey; Brian Dowling, Mickey Mullen, Nicky Potterton. Subs: Tom Fadden for Connolly (half-time), Vincent Ward for Hennessy (47 mins), Daire Gilmartin for Fadden (55 mins), Conor O’Farrell for Ryan (57 mins)
REFEREE: Michael Murtagh (Westmeath)