Allianz HL D1B: Hegarty stars for Limerick
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
LIMERICK 6-33 LAOIS 1-19
By Rory Delaney at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise
Limerick ran riot in O'Moore Park on Saturday night, as they easily defeated Laois.
John Kiely's men were in a ruthless mood after their close call against Offaly last time out, and they obliterated the home side. Once they wrestled control of the game midway through the first half it was one-way traffic, and they will head into the game against Galway encouraged.
The game started at a frantic pace, with both teams sharing six points in five minutes, with Shane Dowling for Limerick and Aaron Dunphy for Laois getting two apiece.
The first goal of the game arrived after that, as the impressive Gearoid Hegarty set up Kyle Hayes, and he made no mistake. Laois were coming under mounting pressure at this stage, but they hung onto Limerick's coat tails for the next few minutes. Points from Cha Dwyer and Aaron Dunphy had them still in contention at 1-7 to 0-6 after 18 minutes.
From that point on, however, Limerick went into overdrive. Hegarty was causing massive problems for the home side, and he set up Shane Dowling for Limerick's second goal.
With their tails up, Limerick wasted little time getting a third, Kyle Hayes cutting in from the left wing to find the bottom corner, and the game already looked over as a contest.
Cha Dwyer landed a couple of impressive points in reply for Laois, but at half time Limerick led 3-14 to 0-10.
The opening stages of the second half were evenly contested, and Laois gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Neil Foyle was fouled for a penalty. Goalkeeper Enda Rowland came up to take it, and made the trip worthwhile when he found the bottom corner.
Whatever positivity Laois could take from that score was soon extinguished, however, as Limerick hit back in ruthless fashion. Colin Ryan and Gearoid Hegarty fired to the net in quick succession. Laois rarely threatened after that, and Hegarty got Limerick's sixth goal with five minutes left.
Scorers for Limerick: Shane Dowling 1-8 (6fs), Gearoid Hegarty 2-6, Kyle Hayes 2-2, Peter Casey 0-4, Ronan Lynch 0-4 (2fs), Colin Ryan 1-1, William O'Donoghue 0-3, James Ryan 0-2, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey, and Pat Ryan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: Ross King 0-6 (4fs, 1 65), Cha Dwyer 0-5 (1 sl), Aaron Dunphy 0-4, Enda Rowland 1-0 pen, Ben Conroy 0-2 (2fs), Neil Foyle and Willie Dunphy 0-1 each.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Cahir Healy, Leigh Bergin, Dwane Palmer; Sean Downey, Paddy Purcell, Ryan Mullaney; Cian Taylor, Ben Conroy; Aaron Dunphy, Charles Dwyer, Paddy Whelan; Willie Dunphy, Neil Foyle, Ross King.
Subs: Aidan Corby for Whelan (49), Eric Killeen for Mullaney (57), Eoin Doyle for Downey (59), Stephen Bergin for Conroy (65), Patrick Keating for Taylor (70).
LIMERICK: Barry Hennessy; Stephen Cahill, Richie English, Sean Finn; Seamus Hickey, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Darragh O'Donovan, William O'Donoghue; Shane Dowling, Gearoid Hegarty, James Ryan; Kevin O'Brien, Kyle Hayes, Colin Ryan.
Subs: Diarmaid Byrnes for Hannon (24, inj), Tom Condon for Finn (41, inj), Peter Casey for O'Brien (47), Ronan Lynch for Dowling (47), Pat Ryan for O'Donovan (50).
REFEREE: Brian Gavin (Offaly).