Crucial win sees Laois into league final

Charles Dwyer, Laois contests this ball with Stephen Kelly, Wicklow in the NHL at O'Moore Park.Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie
LAOIS produced a veritable mixed bag performance before a paltry 225 attendance in bitterly cold O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday but nonetheless it was a case of mission accomplished as they successfully negotiated the spirited challenge of Wicklow and booked their place in the Allianz Hurling League Division 2A Final against Westmeath.

LAOIS produced a veritable mixed bag performance before a paltry 225 attendance in bitterly cold O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday but nonetheless it was a case of mission accomplished as they successfully negotiated the spirited challenge of Wicklow and booked their place in the Allianz Hurling League Division 2A Final against Westmeath.

Allianz Hurling League Division 2A

Laois 0-18

Wicklow 0-14

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Laois custodian Eoin Reilly made some vital saves – early and late on – as his side withstood a second half onslaught from Wicklow. With the benefit of the elements at their backs, Laois hit nine unanswered points during a first half that ended with them leading 0-11 to 0-2. Laois were by far the superior outfit but they didn’t translate this to scores. Their build-up play was excellent however the finished product left a bit to be desired.

On three separate occasions during the opening nine minutes of the second half, Laois went a considerable ten points up – 0-12 to 0-2, 0-14 to 0-4 & 0-15 to 0-5 – and they should have applied the knockout blow. Worryingly they didn’t. Their squander-mania continued in front of goal as they amassed 15 wides and they didn’t ask a serious question of the visiting ‘keeper during an insipid display that left Plunkett livid.

From the 46th minute until the shrill of the final whistle, Wicklow outscored their opponents by 0-9 to 0-3. The Laois fade out and loss of concentration was alarming but when all is said and done they clung on and their target of gaining promotion to Division 1B is still very much intact.

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See this week’s Leinster Express for full report and reaction