Home Sport GAA Looking back: 10 years since the Laois minor hurlers pushed Kilkenny all...

Looking back: 10 years since the Laois minor hurlers pushed Kilkenny all the way

John O'Loughlin ponders after Laois lost to Kilkenny in the Leinster MHC semi-final at Dr. Cullen Park in 2007
John O'Loughlin ponders after Laois lost to Kilkenny in the Leinster MHC semi-final at Dr. Cullen Park in 2007

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Kilkenny 1-17 Laois 0-16

Leinster Minor Hurling Semi Final 2007

Only twice in the history of the association have Laois minor hurlers lowered the colours of their Noreside neighbours Kilkenny but ten years ago when the sides met in the semi-final at Dr Cullen Park, the O’Moores went mighty close under the management of Mattie Collier.

In earlier rounds Laois beat Kildare in Clane by 3-21 to 0-3, Westmeath in Mullingar by 3-13 to 3-4 and in Dr Cullen Park in a thriller, they beat Carlow 4-10 to 3-11.

Kilkenny were making their championship debut but with three outings Laois were quietly confident of turning them over – although Kilkenny had beaten Carlow 4-22 to 1-5 in the previous year’s decider after Carlow had stunned Offaly in O’Moore Park in the semi-final.

The sides were level on five occasions in each half but in the closing five minutes the Cats pulled away to reach their 61st decider.

Mark Bergin of O’Loughlin Gaels put two early points on the board but like scores from John Gaughan and Neil Foyle saw the sides all square after ten minutes.

Adrian Stapleton and John O’Loughlin traded points then Laois went three clear Dayne Peacock a ridiculous effort from a line ball and a free followed by another from the manager’s son Andrew Collier. The scoreboard read Laois 0-6 Kilkenny 0-3 after sixteen minutes.

Brian Glynn came on for Jimmy Corrigan but Michael Murphy responded with a point then somehow squeezed an effort beyond Eoin Reilly in the Laois goal and Kilkenny were back in front.

John Gaughan notched a point from play and a Tomas Burke long range free edged the O’Moores back in front but Mark Bergin levelled matters again.

Tomas Burke pointed again from midfield but two in a row saw Kilkenny in front 1-7 to 0-9 at half time.

David O’Mahoney was introduced on the restart but Kilkenny went two clear courtesy of Shane Brennan but then three in a row for the second time in the game saw Laois back in front, Gary Brophy, John O’Loughlin and Dayne Peacock all splitting the posts.

That was the last time Laois led but the sides were still locked together five minutes from time.

Kilkenny sub Jim Nolan from Clara then struck two great points and although Laois never gave up that was as close as they have got to the Noresider’s in recent years.

Incredibly, just one of that team which pushed Kilkenny so close ten years ago is likely to be involved against Kerry for the Laois seniors on Sunday – Neil Foyle.

Kilkenny included future senior stars in Conor Fogarty, Paul Murphy, Colin Fennelly and Mark Bergin while Michael Murphy, Adrian Stapleton, Shane Brennan, Jim Nolan , Michael Fagan and Tom Breen were also involved.

In the Leinster final Dublin handed Kilkenny a drubbing – winning 2-14 to 1-10.

Cork and Tipperary contested the All-Ireland final and, as they did in the Munster final, the Premier, with three Mahers Padraig, Brendan and Patrick, Michael Cahill and Noel McGrath, won easily on a score line of 3-14 to 2-11 captained by Brendan Maher.

LAOIS: Eoin Reilly (Abbeyleix); Jimmy Corrigan (Rathdowney-Errill), Brian Galvin (The Harps), Martin Burke (Camross); Daryl Dooley (Camross), Tomas Burke (0-2) (Camross), Andrew Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill); John O’Loughlin (0-2) (Mountmellick), John Gaughan (0-2) (Castletown); Gary Brophy (0-1) (Mountrath), Andrew Collier (0-1) (Camross), George Lanham (Ballyfin); Neil Foyle (0-1) (Borris-in-Ossory), Tom Delaney (Clough-Ballacolla), Dayne Peacock (0-5) (Abbeyleix) Subs: Brian Glynn (Portlaoise) for Corrigan, David O’Mahoney (0-1) (Portlaoise) for Lanham, Joe Phelan (0-1) (Camross) for Collier, Willie Delaney (Rathdowney-Errill) for A Kavanagh


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