The Laois Minor hurlers cruised to a comfortable twenty point win over Westmeath in the opening round of the Leinster Championship in O'Moore Park this afternoon.
Laois 2 - 21
Westmeath 0 - 7
Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship Rd 1
The Laois Minor hurlers opened the game well with captain Tadhg Cuddy hitting the upright in the first thirty seconds, before the first score of the game arrived a minute later when Laois wing-forwards combined to setup the opening goal. The Harps' James Duggan fired the ball across the Westmeath goal-mouth and the incoming Dan Delaney flicked the ball into the roof of the net for an ideal start for Enda Lyons' men.
Westmeath responded with corner-forward Conor Murphy firing his first free of the day to set them underway, but Tomas Keyes restored the Laois cushion to three points with four minutes played. Laois goakeeper Finnian Cuddy was then called into action to deny Murphy on the five minute mark.
Laois extended their lead through Trumera's Adam Kirwan when he stepped up to strike the free after being fouled himself. James Duggan followed with a point after a brilliant run from David Dooley to go five points clear.
Westmeath chipped away at the Laois lead with Murphy (2) and Devon Hill all raising white flags for Pat O'Toole's men, but Laois kept the margin at four points through Kirwan and Keyes' second points of the day.
Westmeath pulled one back right before the break as Murphy slotted his fourth point of the day, but Laois went in a goal ahead on a scoreline of 1-5 to 0-5 having played into a stiff breeze in the opening half.
Laois dominated the proceedings in the second half, Dan Delaney, DJ Callaghan, James Duggan and David Dooley all sending over points inside the opening five minutes of the half as Laois pulled away.
Laois' second goal arrived with thirty-eight minutes played, Ballinakill's Cathal O'Shaughnessy getting a touch on Tadhg Cuddy's long ball forward to compound their lead.
Laois continued to dictate the play with another eight points through Kirwan (3) and Dooley (2) before Westmeath would reopen their account with eleven minutes to go when centre-back Shane Williams converted a long range free.
James Duggan and captain Tadhg Cuddy pushed the Laois lead further, but late points from Cuddy and Kirwan either side of a Williams point left the final margin at twenty points as Laois ran out comfortable victors.
Scorers: Adam Kirwan 0-6 (0-4 frees), Dan Delaney 1-2, Cathal O’Shaughnessy 1-0, David Dooley, Tomas Keyes and James Duggan 0-3 each, DJ Callaghan and Tadhg Cuddy 0-2 each.
Team: Finnan Cuddy (Trumera); Ned Fitzpatrick (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Danny Brennan (Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe), Ian Shanahan (Ballinakill); Cian Conroy (Clonaslee St Manman’s), Fionan Mahony (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Noah Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton); Tomas Keyes (Camross), Tadhg Cuddy (Castletown); James Duggan (The Harps), David Dooley (Rosenallis), Dan Delaney (Camross); Cathal O’Shaughnessy (Ballinakill), DJ Callaghan (Clonaslee St Manman’s), Adam Kirwan (Trumera). Subs: Lawson Obular (Abbeyleix) for Fitzpatrick (40 mins), Kevin Mulhall (Clough-Ballacolla) for O’Shaughnessy (44 mins), Eoin Naughton (Portlaoise) for Callaghan (53 mins), Darragh Hogan (Clough-Ballacolla) for Quinlan (53 mins), Padraig Brennan (Clough-Ballacolla) for Delaney (56 mins)
Scorers: Shane Williams 0-3 (frees), Conor Murphy 0-3 frees), Devon Hill 0-1
Team: Jamie Mulkerrin; Eoin Murray, Zach Ahearne, Cian Gavigan; Colm Murray, Shane Williams, Ciaran Cleere; Matthew Glynn, Sean Power; Pierce Weir, Ben Harte, Devon Hill; Conor Murphy, Brian Farrell, Evan Scally. Subs:
REFEREE: Adam Kinahan (Offaly)