Laois senior hurlers began their 2013 league campaign with a convincing nine point win over Kildare on Sunday afternoon, despite finishing the game with 14 players.
While the victory was the main positive to be taken from the day, the team Laois put out was also a big plus. It was undoubtedly the strongest team to take to the field for the county in over two years, and with players like Neil Foyle, Conor Dunne, Sean Bourke and Brian Stapleton still to see first-team action, it all augurs well for the weeks and months ahead.
Laois started strongly and went 0-6 to 0-1 ahead early in the game. Just when they looked like they were going to pull out of sight, however, Kildare hit them with a sucker-punch when Paidi Reidy’s long ball was flicked to the net by Paul Divilly to give Kildare a timely boost. Laois weren’t too bothered by Kildare’s goal though, and they hit the next two points, from Willie Hyland and Matthew Whelan (65) to push four ahead.
Laois added a goal of their own from Brian Dunne when his low shot flew past Paddy McKenna and fantastic team move then rounded off by Willie Hyland finished the half for Laois, and they lead 1-10 to 1-4 at the break.
Kildare outscored Laois 0-3 to 0-1 in the first eight minutes of play in the second-half and the gap remained at four throughout the half.
However Laois finished much the stronger of the two teams. Maher landed two more points, one of which was his first from play, with Tommy Fitzgerald adding his name to the scoresheet with a long-range effort. Two more points rounded off the day’s scoring, and the final nine-point margin was probably a fair reflection on what had gone before, with Kerry up next in two week’s time.
See this week’s Leinster Express for full report and reaction