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Laois dispatch Carlow in Walsh Cup to get 2020 season off to a flyer

Photo Paul Dargan

Carlow 0-22 Laois 3-19
Walsh Cup Round 1

Eddie Brennan’s Laois hurlers have got their Walsh Cup campaign off to a flying start with a comprehensive victory over Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park this afternoon.

Aaron Bergin, debutant Ronan Murray and Ross King all scored goals as Laois ran out six point winners.

With games against Dublin and Westmeath to come after Christmas, Laois have now given themselves a chance of topping the group and reaching the semi finals.

But this was all about getting new faces on the pitch and Laois did that with debuts for the aforementioned Murray, Liam Senior, Fiachra C-Fennell, Frank Flanagan, Joe Phelan, Cormac Rigney and teenager Allan Connolly.

Laois began the game with a brace from Aaron Dunphy and another from Eoin Gaughan while Chris Nolan got Carlow off the mark.

And the home side came into it after that – getting the next four scores via Chris Nolan (2), Ted Joyce and John Michael Nolan to move 0-5 to 0-3 ahead after 12 minutes.

However, Laois then hit a purple patch that would see them turn the game on its head and take a lead into half time.

Debutant Ronan Murray struck for the game’s first goal and that was quickly followed by an Aaron Bergin green flag within another minute.

Aaron Dunphy extended the advantage to 2-5 to 0-6 with his third point but he would not finish the half after picking up an injury following a hefty challenge from Diarmuid Byrne.

And after that, the sides largely traded points from there to the interval.

Carlow’s Chris Nolan took his tally to seven by half time, all from placed balls, while Ted Joyce, Ed Byrne and Cathal Treacy also pointed for the home side.

But Eoin Gaughan, Aaron Bergin, Willie Dunphy and James Ryan did likewise to leave Laois ahead 2-9 to 0-11 at half time.

Laois extended their lead on the resumption through Eoin Gaughan and a first for Ciaran Comerford.

Chris Nolan responded for Carlow but Laois’s lead was out to eight after 45 minutes through Aaron Bergin and two from Ronan Murray – 2-14 to 0-12.

Ted Joyce got Carlow’s second point of the half but Laois replied emphatically again a Ross King goal and a Ciaran Comerford free left Laois 11 clear with twenty minutes to go.

Carlow got the next four points through Chris Nolan (3) and John Michael Nolan but Gaughan and Jack Kelly settled Laois with a free to make it 3-17 to 0-17 after 60 minutes.

And Laois got the next two through Ciaran McEvoy and Gaughan to put clear daylight between the teams for what remained.

Carlow did get the last five points of the game but it was goals they needed as Laois held on to win.

SCORERS – LAOIS: Eoin Gaughan 0-6 (all frees), Aaron Bergin and Ronan Murray 1-2 each, Aaron Dunphy 0-3, Ross King 1-0, Ciaran Comerford 0-2 (both frees), Willie Dunphy, James Ryan, Jack Kelly and Ciaran McEvoy 0-1 each CARLOW: Chris Nolan 0-12 (one 65, eleven frees), John Michael Nolan 0-3, Ted Joyce 0-2, Ed Byrne, Cathal Treacy, Paul Coady and Kevin McDonald 0-1 each

LAOIS: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Liam Senior (Clonaslee), Matthew Whelan (Borris-Kilcotton), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Eric Killeen (Rathdowney-Errill), Podge Delaney (The Harps), Ciaran McEvoy (Portlaoise); Ciaran Comerford (The Harps), Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla); Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), Eoin Gaughan (Camross), James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill); Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill), Ronan Murray (Rosenallis), Aaron Bergin. Subs: Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill) for A Dunphy (32, inj), Fiachra C-Fennell (Rosenallis) for Delaney (ht), Frank Flanagan (Portlaoise) for Whelan (45), Joe Phelan (Castletown) for King and Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise) for W Dunphy (both 55), Allan Connolly for Hartnett (59)

CARLOW: Thomas Dowling; Ross Smithers, Dara Tobin, Michael Doyle; Richard Coady, David English, Diarmuid Byrne; Kevin McDonald, Ed Byrne; John Michael Nolan, Ted Joyce, Jack Murphy; Cathal Treacy, Joe Nolan, Chris Nolan. Subs: Ciaran Kavanagh for Murphy (20), Paul Coady for C Kavanagh, Keelan Guidera for Tracey

Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin)

SEE ALSO – Famed Alo Donegan’s store celebrates 90 years in business in Portlaoise

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.