The Laois hurlers Walsh Cup campaign came to a disappointing end at Parnell Park on Thursday night, Mattie Kenny’s Dublin side running out comfortable 14-point victors to advance to the semi-final stage.
Dublin 1 - 28
Laois 0 - 17
Walsh Cup Round 1 (Rescheduled)
In what was the first meeting of the two sides since last summer’s shock victory for Laois in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final at O’Moore Park, Dublin looked comfortable throughout against a depleted Laois unit.
Dublin fielded eight members from the side that lost out to Laois in the previous meeting, Oisin O’Rorke, John Hetherton and Tom Connolly all starred for the Dubs on this occasion with 1-15 spread between the trio - Hetherton grabbing the only goal of the contest.
With changes to his starting team, Laois manager Eddie Brennan lent on the experience of Enda Rowland, Jack Kelly, Ryan Mullaney, Aaron Dunphy and Ross King from their previous clash with Dublin, and a further four more from the bench including captain Paddy Purcell.
Dublin put their stamp on the game from the get-go, sauntering into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after the opening ten minutes. An Oisin O’Rorke free was closely followed by points from play by Tom Connolly, Ronan Hayes, Cian Boland and Eamonn Dillon before Laois would add to their tally through Ross King and Enda Rowland before Aaron Bergin hit their first from play.
The Dublin lead was out to six points by the twentieth minute, Tom Connolly (2), O’Rorke, Fergal Whitely and Dillon. Laois pulled two back before the end of the half through Ross King and Paddy Keating, but Dublin remained in control to hold a 0-13 0-7 half-time advantage.
Aaron Bergin and Connolly traded scores on the resumption before Dublin stretched their lead further with O’Rorke, Connolly and Donal Burke all raising white flags for the home side by the 40-minute mark.
Laois found some rhythm from here and rattled off four points on the trot through a Ross King brace and singles from James Ryan and Aaron Dunphy. Dublin responded through David Keogh and Marc Howard, but Laois continued to battle back with King, Bergin and Colm Stapleton pointing to keep them within four with a quarter of an hour to go.
Dublin finished the stronger with John Hetherton helping himself to 1-2 as well another three players adding their names to the scoresheet to see them finish 14-point victors and advance to a Walsh Cup semi-final against Galway.
Eddie Brennan and his Laois hurlers now shift their focus to the National League with a home-tie against Wexford opening their campaign on January 25th.
Scorers: Ross King 0-7 (four frees), Aaron Dunphy, James Ryan and Aaron Bergin 0-2 each, Paddy Keating, Enda Rowland (free), Colm Stapleton and Stephen Bergin 0-1 each.
Team: Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix); Liam Senior (Clonaslee St Manman’s), Frank Flanagan (Portlaoise), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Daniel Comerford (The Harps); Fiachra C Fennell (Rosenallis), Ciaran Comerford (The Harps); Aaron Bergin (Portlaoise), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton), James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill); Paddy Keating (Rosenallis), Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill), James Keyes (Colt). Subs: Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill) for Keyes (HT), Podge Delaney (The Harps) for Senior (HT), Colm Stapleton (Borris-Kilcotton) for Mullaney (47 mins), Stephen Bergin (Clough-Ballacolla) for Keating (47 mins), Eoin Gaughan (Camross) for Comerford (55 mins), Mark Hennessy for Ryan (67 mins).
Scorers: Oisin O’Rorke 0-7 (four frees), John Hetherton 1-3, Tom Connolly 0-5, Fergal Whitely 0-3, Eamon Dillon and Marc Howard 0-2 each, Ronan Hayes, Cian Boland, David Keogh, Chris Crummey, Alex O’Neill and Lorcan McMullan 0-1 each.
Team: Alan Nolan; Andrew Dunphy, Paddy Smyth, James Madden; Cian Boland, Daire Gray, Jake Malone; Rian McBride, Tom Connolly; Fergal Whitely, John Hetherton, Ronan Hayes; Cian O’Callaghan, Oisin O Rorke, Eamonn Dillon. Subs: Mark Howard for O’Rorke (HT), Chris Crummey for Gray (HT), Kevin Burke for Smyth (HT), Lorcan McMullan for Whitely (HT), Donal Burke for Boland (HT), David Keogh for Hayes (42 mins), Paul Crummey for O’Callaghan (47 mins), O’Rorke for Dillon (47 mins), Alex O’Neill for McBride (53 mins), Luke Corcoran for Malone (55 mins), Eoin O’Donnell for Connolly (61 mins), Connolly for Madden (68 mins).
Referee: Barry Redmond (Wexford).