A committed Laois display wasn’t enough against a clinical Kilkenny side in this Leinster U-20 hurling championship quarter-final at O’Moore Park on Monday night.
Laois 0 - 10
Kilkenny 5 - 21
Leinster U-20 Hurling Championship Quarter-Final
David Cuddy’s side were unlucky to see the final scoreline so comprehensively in favour of the visiting side, as it bore no reflection of the efforts of the Laois players. They struggled throughout for scores but they played some nice hurling on the night and deserved more than they got from the game.
Laois were always going to be up against it here, but they started with a great sense of endeavour and purpose. They fashioned the opening chance of the game, only for Eoin Gaughan to see his free tail off to the left.
Gaughan missed on the other side moments later, and in between those strikes Eoin O’Shea and Niall Brassil had opened up a two point lead for Kilkenny.
Brassil then nailed a free from the right side before Laois opened their account in the ninth minute, as Padraig Delaney launched a long-range free over the bar. Eoin Cody restored the three-point gap after playing a delightful one-two with Adrian Mullen from a sideline, but Padraig Delaney and Eoin Gaughan combined well themselves to get Laois back within two.
That score gave the Laois crowd a lift, but if there is one thing that Kilkenny are good at it is knowing when to score goals. They showed that here, as just when the Laois crowd started to voice their approval, James Bergin stole in along the left wing and fired a low shot past Paudie McDonald.
Eoin Gaughan replied for Laois with a free only to see Eoin Cody hit his second for Kilkenny, but Laois were proving their were undaunted by their Kilkenny counterparts. Some lovely interplay among the Laois attack ended with them finding James Keyes in space, and he fired over a lovely point from the left wing to give the Laois crowd another lift.
You can probably guess what came next, as Kilkenny got their second goal. Adrian Mullen came charging onto a pass on the 21 yard line and set himself before rifling a shot to the net.
Once again Laois were momentarily deflated but re-doubled their efforts and Eoin Gaughan pointed another free to leave the two goals in it.
Kilkenny picked things up slightly in the run up to half time, while Laois just couldn’t find a finishing touch in attack and that left Kilkenny 2-8 to 0-6 in front at half time.
Laois got off to a good start in the second half, as Diarmuid Conway split the posts with a superb point from the right wing. They really needed to build on that bit of momentum though, and it never really transpired
Kilkenny responded with a couple of points before they got their third goal midway through the half. Niall Brassil’s shot for a point from the middle of the field appeared to hit the crossbar and bounce down to Adrian Mullen, who made no mistake with an emphatic finish.
That ended the competitive element of the game, and Kilkenny cut loose in the closing stages. They added two more goals through Stephen Donnelly and Sean Ryan, while a string of points saw them run out 26 point winners.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Eoin Gaughan 0-6 (0-4 frees), Padraig Delaney (free), Diarmuid Conway, James Keyes, Joe Phelan 0-1 each.
Team: Paudie McDonald (Colt); John Maher (Rosenallis), Ryan Murphy (Galmoy), Liam Senior (Clonaslee St Manman’s); Padraig Dunne (The Harps), Padraig Delaney (The Harps), Alan Connolly (Ballyfin); James Keyes (Colt), Diarmuid Conway (Clough-Ballacolla); Eoin Gaughan (Camross), Daniel Comerford (The Harps), Ciaran Comerford (The Harps); Brandon McGinley (Rathdowney-Errill), Conor Cosgrove (Rosenallis), Joe Phelan (Castletown). Subs: Eoin Dowling (Camross) for D Comerford (half time), Mark Hennessy (Clough-Ballacolla) for Cosgrove (41 mins), Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise) for McGinley (53 mins), Oisín Bennett (Camross) for Connolly (53 mins), Thep Fitzpatrick (Rathdowney-Errill) for Maher (58 mins).
Scorers: Niall Brassil 0-7 (0-5 frees), Adrian Mullen 2-0, Stephen Donnelly 1-1, Eoin Cody 0-4, Sean Ryan, James Bergin 1-0 each, Evan Shefflin 0-3, Eoin O’Shea, Ciarán Brennan 0-2 each, David Blanchfield, Aaron Brennan 0-1 each.
Team: Dean Mason; Tommy Ronan, Conor Flynn, Mikey Butler; Conor Heary, Michael Carey, David Blanchfield; John Dowd, Evan Shefflin; Eoin O’Shea, Niall Brassil, Adrian Mullen; Stephen Donnelly, James Bergin, Eoin Cody. Subs: Aaron Brennan for Dowd (43 mins), Ciarán Brennan for Bergin (49 mins), Sean Ryan for Mullen (53 mins), James Brennan for Heary (53 mins), Jordan Molloy for O’Shea (55 mins).
REFEREE: Richie Fitzsimons (Offaly)