Laois under 15 hurling development squad travelled to Ferns in Wexford on Saturday morning for a very successful blitz where they were just edged out in the final by Wexford in a tremendous game having come through unbeaten against Kilkenny and Dublin.
Missing a number of first choice players in the holiday season they faced Kilkenny in the opening game and found themselves 1-3 to no score down after just five minutes of play. However they bounced back when Oisin Nolan set up Mark Kavanagh for the opening goal. Great play by John O’Dwyer sent Kavanagh in for a great point and then Kavanagh caught a long free from Liam O’Connell and crashed it to the net to leave the sides level at 2-1 to 1-4.
Two great scores from Joe Carroll had Laois ahead after the break but Kilkenny hit some great long range points and another goal to go six points clear.
With the tide going against them Laois showed tremendous heart and in the closing minutes launched attack after attack and were rewarded with two 20 metre frees that Mark Kavanagh blasted to the net to level the game in the dying minutes 4-3 to 2-9.
In the second game Laois played a Dublin side who again got of to a flying start and led by 1-3 to 0-2 after seven minutes with Kavanagh and O’Connell on the mark for Laois. But as against Kilkenny, Laois came back strongly when an O’Connell free was brilliantly deflected to the net by Eanna Lyons. Soon after the same player supplied the pass for Mark Kavanagh to shoot another goal for Laois to lead 2-4 to 1-3.
It was score in the second half with Denis Cahill on target before Dublin got through form a second goal but points from Cahill and Joe Carroll edged Laois ahead. Dublin shot the equaliser with the last puck of the game as they finished 2-7 each.
Wexford had come through unbeaten and the final saw tired limbs taking the field. Laois had lost a few players to injury but a tremendous game ensued as both sides rose to the occasion with a superb goal from Liam O’Connell and a point from Mark Kavanagh leaving the sides level at the break 1-1 to 0-4.
On the restart Laois took control and two brilliant goals from Mark Kavanagh and Joe Carroll put Laois six points clear. The home side bounced back and they shot two goals and a point in as many minutes gave them the lead.
Laois hit back with long range points from Ethan O’Reilly and Mark Kavanagh to edge ahead again but Wexford replied with two disputed frees to grab the lead and while Laois threw everything at them in the dying minutes and had a goal bound shot cleared off the line time ran out.
It was a brilliant experience for the young members of the development squad led by coaches Enda Lyons, Ollie Hally, Jack Nolan and Brian Stapleton.
Laois: Craig Haslam (Portlaoise), Shane Fitzpatrick (The Harps), Dennis Cahill (Park Ratheniska) 0-2, Jake Creagh (Rathdowney Errill), Andrew Mortimor (Camross), Liam O’Connell (Rathdowney Errill) 1-1, John O’Dwyer (Clough Ballacolla), Caolan Murphy (Portlaoise), Eanna Lyons (Ballyfin) 1-0, Oisin Nolan (Park Ratheniska), Michael Moran (The Harps), Pat Williams (Mountrath), Joe Carroll (Mountrath) 1-3, Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney Errill) 6-7, Tristan Tobin (Portlaoise), Fionn Sinnott (St Fintans Raheen), Ethan O’Reilly (Portlaoise) 0-1, Eoin Nealon (Portlaoise), Finbarr Conway (Clogh Ballacolla), Sean Downey (The Harps), Mark Whelan (Borris Kilcotton, Edmund Walton (Abbeyleix), Gearoid Kirwan (Castletown), Karl Brothwood (Clogh Ballacolla), Shane Cahill (Clonad), Liam Dunphy (The Harps), Declan Foyle (Clogh Ballacolla), Conor Hiney (St Fintans Raheen), Fiachra Fennell (Rosenallis), Daniel Williams (Mountmellick)