Laois 2-21 Westmeath 0-7
Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Tier 2 Round 1
A powerful second half display saw Enda Lyons’ Laois minor hurlers make a perfect start to their Leinster hurling campaign.
Just three points separated the sides at half time but Laois took over in the second half and held Westmeath scoreless until the 50th minute – by which time they were 16 points ahead.
There were some fine performances on the Laois team with Fionan Mahony and Danny Brennan rock solid in defence while David Dooley showed serious versatility.
He played as a sweeper in the first half and then moved back up to centre forward in the second half where he, DJ Callaghan, Dan Delaney and James Duggan caused havoc thanks to the platform they were provided to play on by the industrious midfield duo of Tadhg Cuddy and Tomas Keyes.
Laois played against the breeze in the first half but they made the perfect start when wing forwards James Duggan and Dan Delaney combined for the latter to rattle the net.
Aside from that it was fairly tit for tat for the remainder of the half with the sides trading points.
Tomas Keyes struck two lovely efforts from play for Laois while Adam Kirwan hit two frees with James Duggan adding a fifth points.
All bar one of Westmeath’s scores came from frees with Conor Murphy converting three and Shane Williams slotting another.
They had a goal chance too with Conor Murphy getting through but Laois keeper Finnan Cuddy made a brilliant save.
Devon Hill raised the final white flag of the half as Laois headed for the changing rooms with a 1-5 to 0-5 lead.
Laois now had the wind and they quickly extended their advantage with points from Dan Delaney, James Duggan and DJ Callaghan.
Laois were cruising now as David Dooley hit two points either side of his side’s second goal. Captain Tadhg Cuddy floated in a high ball and Cathal O’Shaugnessy rose like a salmon and flicked the ball to the net.
Westmeath were in serious bother now as Laois points from Keyes, Dooley and James Duggan moved the home side 2-15 to 0-5 ahead as we entered the final quarter.
Westmeath finally opened their second half account with a Shane Williams free after 50 minutes and he added another before the end.
But Laois were relentless and they saw out the win in style with James Duggan, Kirwan, Callaghan and captain Cuddy all pointing to cap a fine win.
Laois face Kildare next in Newbridge at 2pm next Saturday May 4. They had a big 2-19 to 0-7 win over Antrim this afternoon.
SCORERS – LAOIS: Dan Delaney 1-2, Adam Kirwan 0-6 (four frees), Cathal O’Shaughnessy 1-0, Tomas Keyes 0-3, James Duggan 0-3, DJ Callaghan 0-2, David Dooley 0-3, Tadhg Cuddy 0-2 WESTMEATH: Shane Williams 0-3 (three frees), Conor Murphy 0-3 (three frees), Devon Hill 0-1
LAOIS: Finnan Cuddy (Trumera); Ned Fitzpatrick (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Danny Brennan (Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe), Ian Shanahan (Ballinakill); Cian Conroy (Clonaslee St Manman’s), Fionan Mahony (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Noah Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton); Tomas Keyes (Camross), Tadhg Cuddy (Castletown); James Duggan (The Harps), David Dooley (Rosenallis), Dan Delaney (Camross); Cathal O’Shaughnessy (Ballinakill), DJ Callaghan (Clonaslee), Adam Kirwan (Trumera). Subs: Lawson Obular (Abbeyleix) for Fitzpatrick (40), Kevin Mulhall (Clough-Ballacolla) for O’Shaughnessy (44), Eoin Naughton (Portlaoise) for Callaghan (53), Darragh Hogan (Clough-Ballacolla) for Quinlan (53), Padraig Brennan (Clough-Ballacolla) for Delaney (56)
WESTMEATH: Jamie Mulkerrin; Eoin Murray, Zach Ahearne, Cian Gavigan; Colm Murray, Shane Williams, Ciaran Cleere; Matthew Glynn, Sean Power; Pierce Weir, Ben Harte, Devon Hill; Conor Murphy, Brian Farrell, Evan Scally. Subs: Ciaran Daly for Power (36), Dean Swords for Harte (41), Luke Darby for Glynn (51), Ciaran Gavigan for C Gavigan (52)
Referee: Adam Kinahan (Offaly)