Home Sport GAA Laois edge seven goal thriller to get Joe McDonagh campaign off to...

Laois edge seven goal thriller to get Joe McDonagh campaign off to a flyer

25 June 2017; Mark Kavanagh of Laois during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Preliminary Round match between Laois and Carlow at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Laois 4-22 Offaly 3-21
Joe McDonagh Cup Round 1 

What. A. Game.

Laois scored four goals and had to withstand ten minutes of second half injury time as they got the better of Offaly in Tullamore this evening.

Laois scored four second half goals and had outstanding displays from Ryan Mullaney, Mark Kavanagh and Matthew Whelan as they defeated Offaly for the third game on the spin.

The sides went in level at half time but Laois must’ve been sitting in the changing rooms wondering how as they missed a string of chances.

They hit ten wides in comparison to Offaly’s two and also failed to convert two goal chances.

Both fell to centre forward Willie Dunphy in the opening ten minutes. The first drew a good save from Offaly keeper Eoghan Cahill while the second saw Dunphy cut in from the wing and just flash a shot wide.

Laois began well with points Mark Kavanagh, Cha Dwyer and Eanna Lyons while Joe Bergin opened Offaly’s account.

And the Faithful scored the half’s only goal after seven minutes when a high ball caused panic in the Laois full back line and it broke to Oisin Kelly who rattled the net.

The sides then traded points before a Joe Bergin free gave Offaly a 1-6 to 0-5 lead at the midpoint of the half.

However, Laois turned the tide after that and limited Offaly to just four more points while scoring eight themselves.

Mark Kavanagh got three points on the spin before a Paddy Purcell score from in front of the terrace put Laois ahead once more.

Joe Bergin replied for Offaly but Laois pushed on again through Kavanagh and a first score for the returning Ross King.

Colm Gath hit back for Offaly and although Kavanagh took his first half tally to eight, late scores via Joe Bergin sent the sides in level at half time – 1-10 to 0-13.

Laois regained the lead through Ross King and although Offaly responded via Niall Houlihan and Bergin, Laois would have the ball in their net twice by the 40th minute.

The first goal came after John Lennon forced the ball to Paddy Purcell and he did the rest from close range while Ross King and Cha Dwyer combined beautifully for the latter to score again.

However, Offaly weren’t going away and they capitalized on a mistake in the Laois defence with Oisin Kelly racing through to score the game’s fourth goal.

Mark Kavanagh settled Laois with a free as they held a 2-15 to 2-13 lead after 45 minutes.

The same player then hit a sideline and although Colin Egan replied for Offaly, Laois’s third goal put six between them with 20 minutes to play.

Ryan Mullaney picked out Cha Dwyer and he turned his man before laying the ball off to Eanna Lyons and he picked out the far corner.

Joe Bergin narrowed the gap with a free and then with 15 minutes to go we had the game’s sixth goal when another mistake in the Laois defence saw Conor Mahon race clear and unleash a pile driver into the corner.

And Offaly got the next three points via Bergin (2) and Oisin Kelly to go one point ahead with ten minutes to play.

Kavanagh and Kevin Dunne traded points before sub Conor Phelan levelled things and then Cha Dwyer gave Laois the lead with 65 minutes in the clock.

And then from nowhere we had the game’s seventh goal. A sideline ball from Mark Kavanagh bounced around and landed to sub Stephen Bergin who rattled the net with his first touch.

Nine minutes of injury time were signaled and in the third minute of those, Joe Bergin cut the gap to three.

Ross King moved the gap back to four with 77 minutes on the clock but Conor Langton left the goal between them again.

But Ross King had the final say as Laois claimed a four point win.

SCORERS – Laois: Mark Kavanagh 0-11 (eight frees, one sideline), Cha Dwyer 1-3, Eanna Lyons 1-1, Paddy Purcell 1-1, Ross King 0-4, Stephen Bergin 1-0, Conor Phelan 0-1, Willie Dunphy 0-1 OFFALY: Joe Bergin 0-11 (eight frees), Oisin Kelly 2-3, Conor Mahon 1-1, Conor Langton 0-2, David O’Toole-Greene 0-1, Colm Gath 0-1, Niall Houlihan 0-1, Colin Egan 0-1, Kevin Dunne 0-1,

LAOIS: Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix); Joe Phelan (Camross), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Lee Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Padraig Delaney (The Harps); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), John Lennon (Rosenallis); Cha Dwyer (Ballinakill), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill); Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill), Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin), Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill) Subs: Conor Phelan (Castletown) for Lennon (48), Neil Foyle (Borris-Kilcotton) for Lyons (58), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton) for Kelly (63), Stephen Bergin (Clough-Ballacolla) for Dunphy (65), Eric Killeen (Rathdowney-Errill) for Phelan (73)

OFFALY: Eoghan Cahill; Tom Spain, Niall Houlihan, Paddy Delaney; Colm Gath, Pat Camon, Ben Conneely; David O’Toole-Greene, Kevin Dunne; Oisin Kelly, Conor Mahon, Colin Egan; Shane Dooley, Joe Bergin, Cillian Kiely. Subs: Conor Langton for Kiely (57), James Gorman for Dooley (65)

Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim)

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