Laois rounded off their O’Byrne Cup campaign with a comprehensive 14 point win over Athlone IT in a bitterly cold Portarlington on Sunday afternoon.
O’Byrne Cup Rd 3
Athlone IT 0-13
It was a pleasing way to finish out the group stages for Justin McNulty and his charges, but in truth they were never under any real pressure during the game. They lead for practically the whole game, as Athlone hung tight to them for the first 25 minutes, but in the ten minutes leading up to half time Laois blitzed the students.
During that spell they scored 1-6 without reply, with Mark Timmons providing the goal and Colm Kelly terrorising the Athlone defence. Kelly was one of Laois’ most impressive performers on the day, as the Stradbally man scored points off both feet from all sorts of distances and angles, with Gary Walsh providing able support beside him in the full-forward line.
There plenty of other positives for Laois on the day as well, with Billy Sheehan impressing at centre-forward, with David Murphy at wing-forward hitting a couple of points from play. Laois also had some purposeful attacking intent from wing-backs Darren Strong and Cahir Healy, while Robbie Kehoe also had his moments at corner-back to put forward his case ahead of the league campaign.
That’s as much as Justin McNulty could hope for from games like these, and while some players may leave the panel before the NFL gets going, the Armagh man has at least had the chance to look at some new and returning players. Having been left short of numbers in defence last year, it is imperative that more re-enforcements stand up to the plate this year, and hopefully the likes of Kehoe can push on for a starting place, along with the returning duo of Denis Booth and Padraig McMahon.
See this Tuesday’s Leinster Express for full report. On sale now