Laois 3-25 Meath 2-13
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Round Robin
Brought to you in association with Hanlon Woodcraft.
An incredible midfield display saw Laois collect their second victory of the Leinster Senior hurling championship round robin series.
Paddy Purcell and Ross King scored a total of 3-17 between them, including 3-10 of Laois’s 3-13 in the first half to lay the platform for the success.
Meath just couldn’t live with Purcell throughout and he helped himself to a first half hat-trick simply by running through them at will.
The game was level at 0-5 apiece after 19 minutes but when Purcell scored that first goal a minute later, the floodgates opened and there was no looking back for Kelly’s men.
Meath made a great start to this one when Steven Clynch scored after a minute following a poor clearance by Leigh Bergin and they soon doubled that thanks to Seán Quigley.
Laois responded from long range through their captain Ross King and he levelled matters after five minutes following a fine run.
Laois then almost had a goal. Neil Foyle won Dwane Palmer’s high ball and fed it to Paddy Purcell who’s goal bound effort from the edge of the square was deflected over the bar by Meath keeper Shane McGann.
Steven Clynch tied the game for Meath with a close range free and they went ahead through Mark O’Sullivan. But more importantly, Cahir Healy sustained a hamstring injury in the build up and he was forced off after just 12 minutes.
Laois recovered from the loss of Healy with a Ross King point and his midfield partner Purcell then put them ahead after a neat flick from Stephen Maher.
The same player scored again while Clynch kept Meath in touch by converting a 65 to leave Laois 0-6 to 0-5 in front after 20 minutes.
And things got even better for Laois a minute later. Cha Dwyer’s side line puck from inside his own half went all the way to Neil Foyle and he found Paddy Purcell who rifled the ball into the net.
Meath were rattled now and Laois added four more points with a brace each from Ross King and Paddy Purcell to move eight points clear.
Adam Gannon finally lifted the siege for Meath with a point but Laois soon had their second goal. From a scramble on the edge of the Meath 21 metre line, Paddy Purcell somehow emerged with the ball and produced a wonderful piece of skill to beat the full back line before smashing the ball to the net.
Clynch hit back for Meath with a free and they then had a brilliant chance to score their first goal but James Kelly fired wide from 14 metres out.
But the Laois team weren’t finished their goal scoring yet and there was still time for Paddy Purcell to complete his hat trick. Dwyer’s high ball was fielded by Foyle and Purcell came running off his shoulder once again to score.
Laois added further points through King, Purcell and Seán Downey to leave them ahead by 3-13 to 0-7 at half time.
Meath needed a fast start but it was Laois who began the scoring as Ross King hit his seventh point.
Clynch responded with a free for Meath and they then had their first goal after substitute Neil Heffernan’s shot was saved by Enda Rowand but Clynch was on hand to tap home the rebound.
Laois hit back via Neil Foyle and almost had a fourth goal but Paddy Whelan’s rasper cannoned back off the crossbar.
Ross King then hit two more frees and Laois led by 3-17 to 1-8 with 23 minutes to go.
Meath hit back with points from Anthony Forde and Steven Clynch to reduce the deficit and things got even better for Meath minutes later when Joe Keena smashed home Meath’s second goal.
Laois’s lead was now down to 11 points with fifteen minutes to go but Paddy Purcell brought it back to 12 with a score from an acute angle.
Meath were then reduced to 14 men Keith Keoghan when picked up a second yellow card after a late tackle on Ross King just seconds after scoring a point from the sideline.
Laois then introduced Aidan Corby and he pointed with his first touch before setting up Willie Dunphy to do likewise as we entered the final ten minutes.
Meath were looking legless now and Laois continued to pile on the pressure with Corby scoring his second and another substitute Aaron Dunphy his first to move Laois sixteen points ahead with five minutes to go.
With scoring difference a possible factor in determining who advances from the group Laois kept scoring as King pointed his eleventh from a free.
But they will be unhappy with a sloppy ending to the game which saw them allow Neil Heffernan to point under no pressure and then give away a penalty.
However, Enda Rowland guessed right to deny his opposite number Shane McGann from point blank range as Laois ended the game victorious with 15 points to spare.
SCORERS – Laois: Ross King 0-11 (0-7 free), Paddy Purcell 3-6 Neil Foyle 0-2, Seán Downey 0-1, Ben Conroy 0-1, Willie Dunphy 0-1, Aidan Corby 0-2 Meath: Seán Quigley 0-1, Steven Clynch 1-6 (0-5 free), Mark O’Sullivan 0-1, Adam Gannon 0-1, Anthony Forde 0-1, Joe Keena 1-0, Keith Keoghan 0-1, Neil Heffernan 0-1, Shane Brennan 0-1
LAOIS: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Cahir Healy (Portlaoise), Leigh Bergin (Shanahoe), Dwane Palmer (Camross); Ciarán Collier (Camross), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Lee Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla); Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill), Patrick Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); Seán Downey (Ballinakill), Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill), Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla); Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Neil Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton), Paddy Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton). Subs: Ben Conroy (Slieve Bloom) for Healy (12mins), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton) for Whelan (44mins), Aidan Corby (Clough-Ballacolla) for Foyle (59mins), Eric Killeen (Rathdowney-Errill) for Dwyer (60mins), Stephen Bergin (Clough-Ballacolla) for Maher (67mins)
MEATH: Shane McGann; Shane Whitty, Seán Geraghty, Cormac Reilly; Shane Brennan, Darragh Kelly, Keith Keoghan; Anthony Forde, Joe Keena; Seán Quigley, Steven Clynch, James Kelly; Gavin McGowan, Mark O’Sullivan, Adam Gannon. Subs: Kevin Keena for Quigley (ht), Neil Heffernan for McGowan (ht), Cathal McCabe for Kelly (59mins), David Reilly for O’Sullivan (65mins)
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)