Offaly 2-19 Laois 1-14
Leinster MHC quarter-final
The Laois minor hurlers have been knocked out of the Leinster championship after going down to Offaly in Bord na Mona O’Connor Park this afternoon.
Offaly captain Cathal Kiely was the star of the show as he hit 12 points in an almost flawless display of free taking while Cillian Sampson was equally impressive with 2-5.
Offaly played with the breeze in the opening half and led 0-13 to 1-5 at the break – but they pushed clear in the second half to run out deserved eight-point winners.
That breeze seemed a significant factor in the opening half as Offaly raced into a 0-7 to 0-1 lead after just 11 minutes. Such was its strength that a puckout from Offaly keeper Stephen Loughnane went wide at the opposite end on one occasion.
Mountrath’s Adam Kirwan got Laois’s only score in that early period from a free but a fine point from play from Mark Hennessy brought the difference back to five.
Laois then got in for the game’s first goal on 14 minutes when midfielder Niall Carey sent a long ball into Kirwan. He was fouled and knocked to the ground but he somehow managed to get a shot off and brilliantly finished to the net.
Yet Offaly replied with the next three points, two frees from Kiely either side of another effort from Sampson.
Two Kirwan frees and a nice effort from play from centre-forward Alan Connolly kept Laois in touch but Offaly kept tagging on scores and one each from Sampson, Kiely and Cathal O’Donoghue sent them in five up at the break.
Laois weren’t out of it though and with the hard-working Evan Cuddy, Cathal O’Shaughnessy and Thep Fitzpatrick all going well, combined with the scoring threat of Kirwan and Hennessy, you felt they had a decent chance in the second half.
But Offaly found scores much handier to come by even against the wind and when Sampson got in for their first goal midway through the second half it left ten points between the sides.
Laois battled on well, however. Dual player Ciaran Byrne hit the next two points from play and captain Conor Cosgrove pointed twice from frees.
Cosgrove was also forced to re-take a free that had driven to the net but Offaly had enough in hand and Sampson’s injury time goal finally put the game well out of Laois’s reach.
SCORERS – Offaly: Cathal Kiely 0-12 (11 frees), Cillian Sampson 2-5, Cathal O’Donoghue and Ciaran Teehan 0-1 each. Laois: Adam Kirwan 1-6 (0-5 frees), Conor Cosgrove 0-4 (frees), Ciaran Byrne 0-2, Mark Hennessy 0-1, Alan Connolly 0-1
OFFALY: Stephen Loughnane; Aaron Brazil, Aaron Flanagan, Shane Mulrooney; Bill Egan, Dara Maher, Luke Egan; Evan Houlihan, Luke Nolan; Cathal Kiely, Cillian Sampson, Cathal O’Donoghue; Ciaran Teehan, DJ McLoughlin, Andrew Walsh. Subs: Jack Screeney for Mulrooney (20), Mark Dillon for McLoughlin (39), Sean Flynn for Keenan (63)
LAOIS: Lorcan Fitzpatrick (The Harps); Keilan Kelly (Borris-Kilcotton), Danny Brennan (Park-Ratheniska), Ben Shore (Castletown); Fionan Mahony (Abbeyleix), Conor Cosgrove (Rosenallis), Thep Fitzpatrick (Rathdowney-Errill); Tadhg Cuddy (Castleown), Niall Carey (Portlaoise); Mark Hennessy (Clough-Ballacolla), Allan Connolly (Ballyfin), Evan Hawkes (Clough-Ballacolla); Adam Kirwan (Mountrath), Cathal O’Shaughnessy (Ballinakill), Ciaran Byrne (Abbeyleix). Sub: DJ Callaghan (Clonaslee) for Kelly (45), Bryan Bredin (Mountrath) for Carey (57), Gearoid O’Neill (Trumera) for Shore (57)