The Laois hurlers fell to their second league defeat when they were beaten by Dublin in Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon.
Having lost to Wexford in the opening round eight days earlier, it leaves Eddie Brennan’s men second from bottom, just ahead of Carlow on scoring difference.
Here we pick out some of the game’s main talking points.
Man of the Match – Ciaran McEvoy
The Portlaoise man has started the last two matches at wing-back and has slotted in well and held his own against quality opposition.
Physically strong and very competitive, he won a couple of puckouts and chipped in with two points from play.
Slow start to each half
Dublin raced into a 1-4 to no score lead after just seven minutes and while Laois fought back very well to take the lead, Dublin had a three-point cushion at the break.
And they struck for two goals in a minute early in the second half to put the game beyond Laois.
Though Laois competed well in patches, those goals and a sluggish start to each half made all the difference.
First half battle
Laois were seven points down early on but actually played really well to come back on level terms and take the lead – with McEvoy, Aaron Dunphy, Jack Kelly, Paddy Purcell, Willie Dunphy and Ross King all scoring points with Willie Dunphy also getting a goal. Indeed Dunphy has now scored three goals in Laois’s two league games.
Dublin rallied again to take the lead and were 1-11 to 1-8 up at half time. For the second week running, Laois competed well in the first half before fading out in the second.
Dublin goal chances
Dublin scored four goals in all – but it could have been more. Enda Rowland pulled off three saves in the first half and Dublin also hit the crossbar. Their margin of victory could have been greater.
The Laois full-back line of Liam Senior, Podge Delaney and Diarmuid Conway are all very inexperienced at this grade and though fine players, it was a big ask.
We referenced the inexperience of the Laois full-back line but for the most part it’s an inexperienced side, backed up by Eoin Culliton, who runs the Laois GAA Bible account on Twitter.
Last week against Wexford he tweeted that Laois’s starting 15 had just a total of 182 appearances, making it the least experienced Laois team to have started in the league since 2009. The average over the past six seasons was 317 so this is a Laois side light on experience at the moment.
Laois have a two-week break before they travel to Ennis to play Clare on Sunday, February 16. They are then at home to Carlow the following Saturday night before finishing at home to Kilkenny the following Sunday, March 1.
The Carlow game will be crucial as the losers will almost certainly finish bottom and have to play a relegation playoff against the bottom team in the other group – more than likely Westmeath.