Laois 1-23 Wexford 5-31
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Quarter Final
The Laois hurlers face an All-Ireland senior hurling championship relegation playoff with Antrim in two weeks time after they were comprehensively beaten by Wexford in Nowlan Park this evening.
This was Seamas ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett’s sixth successive defeat of the season as their miserable league form continued into the championship.
Laois can still get back into the All-Ireland Qualifiers if they defeat the Ulstermen but if they lose that game, they will be relegated back to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2022.
Laois played against the wind in the first half and adopted a defensive style with Donnchadh Hartnett operating as a sweeper.
But Wexford picked them off from distance in the opening quarter and had eight different scorers with eight points from play too.
Wexford’s sweeper Kevin Foley landed a brace while Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Paul Morris, Mikie Dwyer, Rory O’Connor, Shaun Murphy and Liam Og McGovern all pointing.
Keeper Mark Fanning was Wexford’s only scorer from set pieces during the period.
Laois had four wides in the opening quarter and their only points came from PJ Scully and Jack Kelly as they trailed 0-9 to 0-2 at the water break.
Wexford extended their lead on the restart through Gavin Bailey and Lee Chin while a 20th minute point from Conor McDonald ensured that every one of the starting Wexford forwards and the two midfielders had now scored.
Laois tried to keep in the game with points from PJ Scully, Cha Dwyer and Paddy Purcell and they then created a goal chance when Ross King raced clear only to see his shot saved by Mark Fanning.
Wexford scoring rate was phenomenal though and they amassed twenty points by half time – plus a goal which virtually killed the game.
Laois keeper Enda Rowland went shot with a puck out to Donnchadh Hartnett but his attempted pass went straight to Lee Chin who charged forward and centred the ball to Rory O’Connor who beat Rowland from close range.
Wexford led by 1-20 to 0-10 at half time and Laois were now staring a sixth straight defeat of 2021 in the face.
Laois needed to make a good start to the second half to have any chance and in fairness, they did, as Paddy Purcell and PJ Scully scored.
But Wexford’s second goal arrived in the 41st minute when Matthew O’Hanlon picked out Conor McDonald on the 14 metre line and he hit the ball on the half volley into the roof of the net.
Ross King replied for Laois but they now trailed 2-23 to 0-14 with still just under 30 minutes of normal time to play.
Mikie Dwyer, Liam Og McGovern, Rory O’Connor, Paul Morris and Kevin Foley all pointed for Wexford before the water break with Ross King, Paddy Purcell and sub Lee Cleere doing likewise for Laois to leave it 2-27 to 0-17 at the second water break.
Wexford scored two goals in quick succession on the resumption of play through Conor McDonald and Lee Chin which put the 22 points clear with 15 minutes to go.
Laois rallied somewhat with a goal from sub Ciaran Comerford and a free from a PJ Scully from a tight angle.
But it was all in vein as Wexford kept ticking over their side of the scoreboard to see them through to face Kilkenny in the Leinster semi final next weekend.
SCORERS – Laois: PJ Scully 0-8 (five frees, one 65), Ciaran Comerford 1-1, Cha Dwyer 0-4, Paddy Purcell 0-3, Ciaran Collier 0-2, Ross King 0-2, Matthew Whelan 0-1, Jack Kelly 0-1, Lee Cleere 0-1 Wexford: Rory O’Connor 1-7, Conor McDonald 2-4, Paul Morris 0-5 (one free), Lee Chin 1-2 (one free), David Dunne 1-0, Kevin Foley 0-3, Diarmuid O’Keeffe 0-2, Mikie Dwyer 0-2, Liam Og McGovern 0-2, Cathal Dunbar 0-1, Mark Fanning 0-1 (one free), Shaun Murphy 0-1, Gavin Bailey 0-1
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Donnchadh Hartnett, Ciaran McEvoy, Sean Downey; Stephen Maher, Ryan Mullaney, Jack Kelly; Paddy Purcell, Fiachra C-Fennell; Cha Dwyer, Ciaran Collier, James Ryan; PJ Scully, Ross King, Willie Dunphy. Subs: Eanna Lyons for Ryan (ht), Lee Cleere for Hartnett (47), Aaron Dunphy for W Dunphy and Ciaran Comerford for Purcell (both 52), Matthew Whelan for Downey (53)
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Shane Reck, Liam Ryan, Simon Donohue; Gavin Bailey, Matthew O’Hanlon, Shaun Murphy; Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Liam Og McGovern; Paul Morris, Rory O’Connor, Conor McDonald; Mikie Dwyer, Lee Chin, Kevin Foley. Subs: Jack O’Connor for O’Keeffe (49), Connal Flood for Donohue and David Dunne forn Dwyer (both 54), Conor Firman for Bailey (60, inj), Cathal Dunbar for Chin (66)
Referee: Thomas Walsh