Dublin 2-31 Laois 1-24
NHL Division 1
The Laois and Dublin hurlers will meet in Parnell Park in a month’s time in the opening round of the Leinster championship – so their final round league game in O’Moore Park this afternoon was a glorified dress rehearsal.
In a high-scoring game, Dublin were 10-point winners in the end despite having Rian McBride sent off on a straight red midway through the second half.
At that stage they led by nine points Laois had the wind.
Cheddar Plunkett’s men did get the difference back to six on two different occasions but never looked like getting the goal they needed and Alex Considine hit the net in injury time for the visitors to make sure of it.
Dublin hit a massive 0-21 in the opening half with their top scorer Donal Burke scoring 11 points in the first 35 minutes.
It was akin to a tennis match at times as the ball went over and back with minimal contact and though Laois got some nice scores, Dublin found the range easier with the wind at their backs.
Fergal Whitely, Davy Keogh and Rian McBride were all on target too on a couple of occasions as Dublin opened up a nine-point lead coming up to half time.
Laois reduced the gap when a James Keyes shot was fumbled by Dublin keeper Sean Brennan and with Cha Dwyer and Podge Delaney leading the charge, it was back to six at half time, 0-21 to 1-12.
An Eamon Dillon goal early in the second half helped Dublin go 12 clear at one point though Laois kept the scoreboard moving with a couple of nice efforts from Jordan Walshe, frees from PJ Scully and Dwyer.
An altercation between Dwyer and McBride led to the Dublin man getting a red in the 48th minute and though Laois eat into the lead as both teams made a raft of changes, a comeback never looked likely.
Laois were safe from relegation regardless and Dublin needed Waterford to beat Kilkenny to go through to the semi-final. That didn’t happen so both finish up their league campaigns this afternoon.
Attention now turns to their championship game on April 16.
SCORERS – Dublin: Donal Burke 0-14 (ten frees, one ’65), Fergal Whitely 0-7, Eamon Dillon 1-1, Alex Considine 1-1, Davy Keogh 0-3, Rian McBride 0-3, Donnacha Ryan 0-1, Jake Malone 0-1. Laois: PJ Scully 0-7 (six frees), James Keyes 1-2, Cha Dwyer 0-4, Jordan Walsh 0-4, Ross King 0-3 (two frees), Fiachra C Fennell 0-2, Podge Delaney 0-1, Ciaran Byrne 0-1
DUBLIN: Sean Brennan; Andrew Dunphy, Cian O’Callaghan, Eoghan O’Donnell; James Madden, Paddy Smyth, Donnacha Ryan; Jake Malone, Chris Crummey; Donal Burke, Davy Keogh, Rian McBride; Fergal Whitley, Paul Crummey, Eamon Dillon. Subs: Conor Burke for C Crummey (injured – 32), Sean Moran for Dunphy (39), Mark Schutte for Madden (40), Alex Considine for P Crummey (48), Colin Currie for Schutte (injured – 63), Aidan Mellett for Malone (65), Ciaran Dowling for Dillon (70)
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Diarmuid Conway, Sean Downey, Padraic Dunne; Conor Phelan, Podge Delaney, Eric Killeen; Fiachra C Fennell, James Keyes; Paddy Purcell, Cha Dwyer, Jordan Walshe; Mark Dowling, Willie Dunphy, PJ Scully. Subs: Ryan Mullaney for Delaney (48), Ross King for PJ Scully (52), Ciaran Byrne for Mark Dowling (52), Ciaran Comerford for Walshe (59), John Lennon for Purcell (64)
REFEREE: Colum Cunning (Antrim)