Laois 2-15 Carlow 2-25
Joe McDonagh Cup Round 4
Laois’s hopes of winning the Joe McDonagh Cup are over after they were well beaten by Carlow in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
Eamonn Kelly’s charges went into the game knowing they had to win to have any chance of making the final – but this defeat means they are now in real danger of dropping into the Christy Ring Cup.
Laois play Meath in their final group game next Sunday but even a win there may not be enough for them to avoid a relegation playoff against this year’s Christy Ring Cup winners.
The bottom team will be automatically relegated too though so Laois will have to avoid defeat against Meath next Sunday to make sure they have a chance to stay up.
After a couple of half chances went wrong for Laois early on, it was Carlow who opened the scoring with a goal.
Denis Murphy found Edward Byrne on the edge of the 21 and he blasted past Podge Lawlor before rifling the sliotar into the corner of the net.
Denis Murphy added two frees for Carlow either side of Laois’s first point which came via Ryan Mullaney from the half way line.
Carlow’s fine start continued though as Chris Nolan and John Michael Nolan edged them six clear by the tenth minute.
Laois had two goal chances in that first ten minute period and they both came to Stephen Maher who saw his efforts blocked on each occasion.
The big Clough-Ballacolla man did land a 65 but Carlow responded immediately through James Doyle.
Maher hit another 65 but Carlow almost had a second goal after 16 minutes when the ball broke to Chris Nolan unmarked in front of goal but he pulled on the ball first time and it went over the bar.
Stephen Maher landed a third 65 and then a free from inside his own half but Chris Nolan maintained Carlow’s five point lead after 23 minutes.
Carlow then missed another glorious goal chance. Denis Murphy found acres of space in the Laois defence and crossed to Chris Nolan who hit the post. Laois went straight down the field and Ben Conroy was dragged down for a penalty.
Enda Rowland came up from the goal to take it and planted the ball in the top corner of the net. This lifted Laois and Neil Foyle cut the gap to one after 27 minutes with his first of the afternoon.
Carlow then got a disputed point from a sideline from John Michael Nolan after the linesman over-ruled the decision of the umpires – and the same player then put three between them with five first half minutes to play.
Stephen Maher hit his fifth with a close range free and Ryan Mullaney then grabbed his second after a fine run from defence.
And Laois were level for the first time after 34 minutes when Cian Taylor combined with Ben Conroy to point.
That left it 1-9 apiece at the break but the first score of the second half went Carlow’s way from a Denis Murphy free with the resulting puckout being won by John Michael Nolan who fired it back over Enda Rowland’s head.
Carlow were coming in waves now and Denis Murphy had his fourth free to leave three in it after 41 minutes.
Laois were slow to get going but a fine point from Willie Dunphy from in front of the stand got them moving again.
John Michael Nolan responded for Carlow from an acute angle but Stephen Maher’s sixth placed ball after 46 minutes cut the gap to two again.
Denis Murphy slotted a fifth free before Carlow got their second goal with 51 minutes played. Diarmuid Byrne waltzed through the defence and smashed the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Laois looked shellshocked and Carlow piled on the pressure with two Paul Coady points them eight points ahead.
Stephen Maher again replied for Laois but Carlow got the next two points via Diarmuid Byrne and Jack Kavanagh.
Stephen Maher got an eight point from a free but John Michael Nolan’s sixth from play left it 2-19 to 1-13 with ten minutes to play.
In fairness to Laois though, they kept battling. Wing back Ryan Mullaney got his third point and then followed that with a rasping goal.
But Carlow responded well to that set back. Chris Nolan, Kevin McDonald and Paul Coady all raised white flags to snuff out any hopes of a Laois revival.
Mark Kavanagh and Chris Nolan traded points with the final score coming from Jack Kavanagh to leave ten between them at the finish.
SCORERS – Laois: Stephen Maher 0-8 (five frees, three 65s), Ryan Mullaney 1-3, Enda Rowland 1-0 (1-0 pen), Neil Foyle, Cian Taylor, Willie Dunphy and Mark Kavanagh 0-1 each Carlow: John Michael Nolan 0-6 (one sideline), Denis Murphy (all frees) and Chris Nolan 0-5 each Diarmuid Byrne and Edward Byrne 1-1 each, Paul Coady 0-3, James Doyle 0-1 and Kevin McDonald 0-1 each
Laois: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Joe Phelan (Camross), Leigh Bergin (Shanahoe), Colm Stapleton (Borris-Kilcotton); Podge Lawlor (Ballinakill), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown); James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill), Cian Taykor (Portlaoise); Ben Conroy (Slieve Bloom), Neil Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton), Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); Ciaran Comerford (The Harps), Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla). Subs: Paddy McCane (Rathdowney-Errill) for Comerford (ht), Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill) for Taylor (55mins), Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill) for Foyle (64mins), Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin) for Purcell (70mins) for Aidan Corby (Clough-Ballacolla) for Mullaney (70mins)
Carlow: Brian Tracey; Alan Corcoran, Paul Doyle, Michael Doyle; Diarmuid Byrne, David English, Richard Kelly; Jack Mur, Kevin McDonald; John Michael Nolan, Paul Coady, Edward Byrne; James Doyle, Denis Murphy, Chris Nolan Subs: Ross Smithers for Murphy (55mins), Seamus Murphy for C Nolan (70mins)