Laois 2-16 Offaly 1-16
Walsh Cup Round 1
The 2019 season got off to a very promising start for the Laois hurlers today as they got the better of Offaly in the opening round of the Walsh Cup in Birr.
A number of young Laois players stood up to be counted today – including Ryan Mullaney, Podge Delaney, Eanna Lyons, Aaron Dunphy and Donnacha Hartnett as Eddie Brennan’s reign as manager got off to a winning start.
And as ever for this stage of a season, it was a mix of new and experienced faces.
There were first competitive starts for Camross’s Andrew Mortimer as well as Portlaoise’s Aaron Bergin – who scored a crucial goal after 58 minutes to level the game.
PJ Scully got Laois’s first score of the 2019 campaign with a sideline cut before opposing midfielder David Nally hit back for Offaly.
A misjudged effort from a short Laois puckout made for a bread and butter point for James Gorman to puck over for Offaly’s second of the game.
Borris-Kilcotton men led the way with Colm Stapleton and Scully lodging over two more but Eddie Brennan’s side could have been left to rue their missed chances with numerous wides being hit by both sides.
Picky Maher and Shane Kinsella traded frees while Aaron Dunphy dispossessed his man to earn himself a cracker of a point over the black spot.
Ryan Mullaney did just enough to stop U-21 hurler Oisin Kelly through on goals after 27 minutes.
However disastrous defending led to Offaly centre forward Sean Dolan powering through and bouncing the ball into Enda Rowland’s net for Offaly’s first lead in the game.
Willie Dunphy hit back for Laois while Kelly and Aidan Treacy both converted placed balls to give Offaly a three-point lead at half-time.
Sean Dolan got Offaly first out of the starting blocks in the second half but a Willie Dunphy flick on to fellow clubman Picky Maher resulted in Picky sending the sliotar into Eoghan Cahill’s net to reduce Offaly’s lead to one.
David Nally landed a super sideline cut for Offaly but Laois substitute Eanna Lyons cut the deficit right back again after 35 minutes and again on the 41 minute mark.
Offaly went ahead through Treacy, Dolan and a long-range free from goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill to lead by three after 52 minutes.
Lyons continued to impress and earned a free in the 55th minute, which Scully slotted over.
Offaly looked to be pulling further and further into the lead before a stroke of luck and skill saw the ball land to Portlaoise man Aaron Bergin, who fired the sliotar into the net on his senior intercounty debut.
The goal tied things up but Picky and PJ Scully put Laois two ahead for the first time in the second half. Dylan Murray’s cut this lead to one with a short range free before Ryan Mullaney continued his superb form with a point from just beyond the half way line.
The Laois defence worked tirelessly to keep Offaly at bay and their hard work paid off with their first win of the 2019 season.
SCORERS – Laois: PJ Scully 0-6 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ’65, 0-1 sidelines), Stephen Maher 1-3 (0-2 frees), Aaron Bergin 1-0, Eanna Lyons 0-2, Colm Stapleton 0-1, Aaron Dunphy 0-1, Willie Dunphy 0-1, Ryan Mullaney 0-1, Ciaran Comerford 0-1 Offaly: Sean Dolan 1-3, Aidan Treacy 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 ’65), David Nally 0-2, James Gorman 0-2, Shane Kinsella 0-2, Oisin Kelly 0-1, Eoghan Cahill 0-1 (free), Dylan Murray 0-1 (free), Mark Egan 0-1
LAOIS: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Andrew Mortimer (Camross), Leigh Bergin (Shanahoe), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Padraig Delaney (The Harps); Colm Stapleton (Borris-Kilcotton), PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton); Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla), Paddy Keating (Rosenallis), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton); Charles Dwyer (Ballinakill), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Aaron Bergin (Portlaoise) Subs: Ciaran Comerford for C Stapleton (half-time) Eanna Lyons for C Dwyer (half-time), Jack Kelly for Leigh Bergin (45 minutes, inj) Daniel Comerford for A Mortimer (52 minutes), Stephen Berign for A Bergin (58 minutes), Eoin Gaughan for P Keating (67 minutes)
OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Darren Healy, Ben Conneely, Paddy Rigney; Enda Grogan, Mark Egan, Craig Taylor; David Nally, Shane Kinsella; Aidan Treacy, Sean Dolan, Padraic Guinan; Oisin Kelly, James Gorman, Kevin Dunne. Subs: Dylan Murray for Kevin Dunne (49 minutes), Thomas Spain for P Rigney (58 minutes) Colin Egan for A Treacy (62 minutes)