Laois 1-15 Carlow 0-15
Leinster U-20 Hurling Championship Round 1
Laois U-20 hurlers set up a date with Galway in the quarter-finals of the Leinster U-20 HC, after Mark Hennessy’s second half goal saw them past Carlow.
When that game might be played remains to be seen, as all GAA action outside of senior level is parked for the next six weeks. It’ll be hard to keep the show on the road amid such uncertainty, but either way Laois have a glamour fixture to look forward to at some stage in the future.
The game got off to a bright start despite the uncertainty around the future of the competition, with Ciaran Kavanagh landing a long range-free for Carlow within minutes of the opening whistle.
Laois wasted little time in responding as Mark Hennessy hit the target from 25 yards out, before Daniel Delaney (free) and Kavanagh traded points again soon after to leave the teams level at 0-2 each after five minutes.
Carlow seemed to get their second wind a bit quicker than Laois at that stages, and they edged ahead thanks to the impressive Ciaran Kavanagh. He landed another free before winning the ball on the right wing, jinking away from Conor Cosgrove and pointing off his left.
Laois weren’t exactly in trouble now but they needed to keep themselves ticking over, and Ciaran Byrne scored a wonderful, battling point to get them back to within one. Niall Bolger hit back for Carlwo with a fine score from the left wing, but Laois started to get on top after that.
Daniel Delaney landed two frees before the water break to levels the scores, before he added two more after play resumed to Laois go two ahead.
That was Laois’ best spell of the half but they couldn’t hold onto the lead, as Carlow, with wind advantage, eventually hauled themselves back on level terms. John Doyle halved the deficit with a superb score from the right wing, and Ciaran Kavanagh then drew his side level before putting them back in front with the last puck of the half. Carlow were 0-8 to 0-7 up at the changeover.
Carlow struck first on the restart, as Ciaran Kavanagh’s close range free hit the post, rebounded back out to him, and he fired over at the second attempt. Daniel Delaney’s powerful run then set Ciaran Byrne up for his second score, and a brilliant effort from Ciaran Conroy from way out on the left wing saw the teams level for the fourth time.
Carlow were probably edging things at this stage though and they made it count on the scoreboard, as John Doyle (2) and Oisin Ryan hit the target. Laois managed just one in response, from Mark Hennessy, and at the second water break Carlow were 0-12 to 0-10 in front.
Laois needed to step things up if they wanted to get anything from this game and to their credit, they did just that. In their next meaningful attack, Mark Hennessy picked the ball up on the edge of the area and picked out the top corner for the only goal of the game.
Adam Kirwan (free) and Tomás Keyes tacked on points after that as Laois went from two down to three ahead, with the goal separating the teams. Carlow threw everything they had at Laois in the closing stages, but every time they got a score, Laois came down the other end and did the exact same.
The final act of the game was a 65 from Adam Kirwan, as Laois held on for a well-deserved win.
SCORERS – Laois: Daniel Delaney 0-5 (all frees), Mark Hennessy 1-2, Ciaran Conroy 0-2, Ciaran Byrne 0-2, Adam Kirwan 0-2 (0-1 free, 0-1 65), Tomás Keyes 0-1, Tadhg Cuddy 0-1. Carlow: Ciaran Kavanagh 0-8 (0-4 frees), John Doyle 0-3, Oisin Ryan 0-1, Conor Treacy 0-1, John McCullagh 0-1, Scott Treacy 0-1.
Laois: Cathal Dunne (Clough-Ballacolla); Danny Brennan (Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe), Conor Cosgrove (Rosenallis), Aaron Gaughan (Castletown); Fionan Mahoney (Abbeyleix), Enda Parlon (Borris-Kilcotton), Padraic Dunne (The Harps); Thep Fitzpatrick (Rathdowney-Errill), Joe Phelan (Castletown); Fionn Whelan (The Harps), Daniel Delaney (Camross), Liam Delaney (Camross); Tomas Keyes (Camross), Ciaran Byrne (Abbeyleix), Mark Hennessy (Clough-Ballacolla). Subs: Tadhg Cuddy (Castletown) for Fitzpatrick (half-time), Ciaran Conroy (Slieve Bloom) for L Delaney (half-time), James Duggan (The Harps) for Whelan (35 mins), Adam Kirwan (Trumera) for D Delaney (46 mins), Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise) for Keyes (56 mins)
Carlow: Ciaran Abbey; Eoin Kavanagh, Jack Ryan, Eoin Dowling; Paidí O’Se, Cian Doyle, Niall Bolger; Eoin Hosey, Jack McCullagh; John Doyle, Fiachra Fitzpatrick Scott Treacy; Conor Kehoe, Ciaran Kavanagh, Fiach O’Toole. Subs: Daire Nolan for Ryan (34 mins), Oisin Ryan for O’Toole (40 mins), Jason Wall for Treacy (43 mins), Conor Treacy for Fitzpatrick (56 mins)
Referee: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly)