Waterford 4-22 Laois 1-15
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
The Laois hurlers fell to a second successive Allianz Hurling League Division 1B loss this afternoon in O’Moore Park when they proved no match for a strong Waterford outfit.
Eddie Brennan’s side were certainly handed a tough start to the campaign with Galway and Waterford up in their first two games – but they’ll be hoping to learn from the experience ahead of games with Offaly (home) on Saturday week, February 16, and Carlow (away) the following Sunday, February 24.
Despite Waterford being without their Ballygunner contingent and star names such as Austin Gleeson and the Fives brothers, they still dominated.
Laois played with the wind in the opening half and though they competed as well as they could – with Joe Phelan, Ryan Mullaney, Sean Downey, Donnacha Hartnett and Mark Kavanagh battling hard – there was no containing a rampant Waterford outfit.
A seventh minute goal from Patrick Curran set the visitors on their way and with Stephen Bennett unerring from frees, hitting seven in total in the opening half, Waterford were 1-9 to 0-2 up by the 24th minute.
Laois rallied briefly with two good long-range points from half backs Mullaney and Downey but Thomas Ryan got in for a brilliant individual goal – after earlier been denied by Rowland, who also pulled off a good save on another occasion on Bennett.
At the other end, Laois were unlucky not to have a goal of their own, Billy Nolan doing well to deny Kavanagh at one stage. At half time Waterford led 2-12 to 0-5.
Things got even worse early in the second half for Laois when Lee Cleere – only on as a half time sub for Conor Phelan – was given a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Thomas Ryan.
Laois battled on as well as they could and with Waterford clocking up the wides, a string of Mark Kavanagh frees and points from play from Jack Kelly and Neil Foyle clawed back the deficit somewhat.
But the result was never in doubt and Patrick Curran fired his second goal past Rowland with ten minutes remaining and Thomas Ryan showed the Laois defence a clean pair of heels to get his second.
Mark Kavanagh, who finished with 1-8, replied with a cracker for Laois – but it wasn’t enough and in the end, 16 points separated the sides.
SCORERS – Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-12 (seven frees, one ’65), Patrick Curran 2-2, Thomas Ryan 2-1, Mikey Kearney 0-3, Colin Dunford 0-1 Mark O’Brien 0-1, DJ Foran 0-1, Maurice Shanahan 0-1 Laois: Mark Kavanagh 1-8 (0-8 frees), Jack Kelly 0-2, PJ Scully 0-1 (free), Sean Downey 0-1, Ryan Mullaney 0-1, Neil Foyle 0-1, Willie Dunphy 0-1
LAOIS: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Joe Phelan (Camross), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Sean Downey (Ballinakill); Conor Phelan (Castletown) PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton); Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin), Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill), Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); John Lennon (Rosenallis), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), Neil Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton). Subs: Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill) for Scully (32), Lee Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla) for C Phelan (HT), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla) for Dwyer (44), S Maher for Foyle (60), P Delaney for Downey (60)
WATERFORD: Billy Nolan; Shane McNulty, Conor Prunty, Noel Connors; Mark O’Brien, Tadhg de Burca, Jordan Henley; Kevin Moran, Stephen Roche; DJ Foran, Michael Kearney, Jack Prendergast; Thomas Ryan, Stephen Bennett, Patrick Ryan. Subs: Colin Dunford for Kearney (HT), Michael Walsh for de Burca (HT), Billy Power for Prendergast (53), Maurice Shanahan for Foran (63)
REFEREE: Colum Cunning (Waterford)