Laois 3-17 Offaly 2-16
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
The Laois senior hurlers can breathe a sigh of relief and sleep easy tonight.
Securing their first win of 2019 and of division 1B, Eddie Brennan’s side can take pride in their performance tonight – particularly in the first-half.
Mark Kavanagh got Laois out of the starting blocks with a free after 30 seconds but this was soon matched by opposing freetaker Joe Bergin.
Laois’s accuracy would prove off for periods of the first-half – striking seven wides with the wind – but Eanna Lyons earned Laois’s first point from play after running off captain Paddy Purcell.
Frees came as easy pickings for Offaly in the first-half however Laois only reliqueshed their lead once in the game.
Offaly went one point ahead through the stick of Paddy Murphy before Willie Dunphy turned up the style soloing into the full-forward line and striking the sliotar across the goals into the roof of Eoghan Cahill’s net.
Two minutes passed before Dunphy launched forward again. A rocket of a pass from Mark Kavanagh to Dunphy set up this seocnd goal for the Clough-Ballacolla man.
Following this, Aaron Dunphy laid his mark on the game with tremendous work out the field and earning three points from play.
Ryan Mullaney remained solid in the defence, while Joe Phelan was as consistent as ever picking up ball in the full-back line.
John Lennon and Stephen Maher helped bring Laois 12 points ahead before a Joe Bergin free signaled the end of a 10 minute scoring hiatus for Offaly.
Laois secured a further three points through Kavanagh on frees to leave Laois 13 points clear at half-time.
A sluggish second half told a different story to Laois’s game. Multiple wides caused Offaly to claw back the deficit – primarily by Joe Bergin on frees.
Offaly received a free straight out of the blocks – Bergin making this his his fifth point of the game.
A great point by Mark Kavanagh from the sideline marked the first of his many in the second half.
Indecisiveness from the Laois full-back line after 37 minutes gave Offaly fans a reason to cheer as Colm Gath got through for Offaly’s first goal while Offaly keeper Eoghan Cahill stopped a sure goal chance on Paddy Purcell.
Laois were struggling for scores at this stage, but came right back ito it when Paddy Purcell’s shot was saved by Eoghan Cahill – with Stephen Maher slotted over the rebound.
Enda Rowland kept Offaly goals at bay until a long-range free from tallisman Bergin in the dying seconds left the final score at Laois 3-17 Offaly 2-16.
This victory sets up Eddie Brennan’s men nicely for their clash with Carlow next Sunday. For Offaly, this means relegation looks ever more ominous on the horizon.
SCORERS – Laois: Willie Dunphy 2-0, Stephen Maher 1-2, Mark Kavanagh 0-10 (0-8 frees), Aaron Dunphy 0-3, John Lennon 0-1, Eanna Lyons 0-1 Offaly: Joe Bergin 1-7 (1-6 frees), Colm Gath 1-0, Paddy Murphy 0-1, Kevin Connolly 0-1, Shane Kinsella 0-1, Mark Egan 0-2 Shane Dooley 0-3, Pat Camon 0-1, Eoghan Cahill 0-1 (0-1 frees)
LAOIS: Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix); Joe Phelan (Camross), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Jake Cranny (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix); John Lennon (Rosenallis), Sean Downey (Ballinakill); Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin), Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Erill), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla) Subs: Mark Dowling (Camross) for W Dunphy (50 minutes), Conor Phelan (Castletown) for E Lyons (64 minutes), Eoin Gaughan for A Dunphy (67 minutes) Lorcan Burke for J Cranny (69 minutes), Padraig Delaney for S Downey (72 minutes)
OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Tom Spain, Niall Houlihan, Ben Conneely; Enda Grogan, Pat Camon, Andy Flynn; Shane Kinsella, Mark Egan; Colm Gath, Damien Egan, Joe Bergin; Kevin Connolly, Colin Egan, Paddy Murphy. Subs: Kevin Dunne for D Egan (34 mins to HT, blood sub), Shane Dooley for D Egan (half time), Sean Dolan for Murphy (half time), Aidan Treacy for Spain (half time), Paddy Rigney for Grogan (51 mins), Kevin Dunne for Kinsella (68 mins)
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)