The wait goes on another little while for Seamas Plunkett and his Laois panel as they slipped to another narrow defeat in the Walsh Cup on Sunday afternoon in Rathdowney.
Antrim 0-18 aet
They pushed things a little further this time, Antrim took them to extra time, but unfortunately for Laois they, as of yet, don’t have enough work done for 90 minute hurling matches. That they lasted for so long is to their credit though, considering they had trained in St Fergal’s college prior to the game.
Playing with the aid of a strong wind in the first half, Laois were the first to draw blood as Stephen Maher’s shot was palmed over the bar by Ryan McGarry and they continued to push and were leading by two, 0-8 to 0-6, at the break.
Things got even better at the start of the second half, as Laois hit their most productive spell of the game. It started with a Maher free following a foul on Sean Bourke, with Matthew Whelan then landing a huge point from long range. PJ Scully then set up Tommy Fitzgerald for a second time, and Fitzgerald obliged with another score.
Instead of pushing on from there, Laois went out of the game as Antrim scored seven points without reply and the sides were still level at the end of normal time.
Extra time ensued, with Matthew Whelan’s 65 putting Laois ahead for the last time early in the first period. A brace of Neil McManus frees before the changeover had Antrim ahead, 0-17 to 0-16, but both teams could only manage one more point each which was good enough for Antrim to record a one-point win and book a place in the shield final.
For full report and reaction see this week’s Leinster Express. On sale now.