Allianz HL D1: Laois claim the spoils
Allianz Hurling League Division One Group B
LAOIS 0-15 CARLOW 0-14
By Rory Delaney at MW Hire O'Moore Park
Laois held on for a nervy one-point win over Carlow in this Allianz Hurling League clash in O’Moore Park thanks to a clinical display from Ross King.
The Rathdowney-Errill attacker hit 0-12 for the O’Moore men in dreadful conditions to steer his side to a narrow victory. His efforts were almost matched by Marty Kavanagh for Carlow, but his late long-range free drifted to the left and wide to see Laois hang on for the win.
With the pitch in O’Moore Park hosting its fourth game in seven days conditions underfoot were far from ideal, and it took both teams a while to get to grips with it. Laois were coping the better of the two teams, but neither team could manage a score from play in the opening 15 minutes.
In that time, Ross King launched over three frees for Laois with Marty Kavanagh hitting one in response for Carlow. The game’s first score from play came in the 21st minute, through the aforementioned King, who was the standout player of the half.
Willie Dunphy added another for Laois moments later, with the hosts trying to make the most of their wind advantage. Carlow were struggling to create chances, but Kavanagh’s frees were keeping them in the game, and himself and King had a personal duel for most of the half. After 34 minutes, Laois were just two ahead, 0-7 to 0-5, having wasted a host of chances.
They did finish the half strongly at least, as King hit two lovely points from play and Aaron Dunphy added another, while Willie Dunphy’s shot for a goal was saved by Damien Jordan. That left Laois 0-10 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Carlow had wind advantage for the second half and put it to use early on, starting with a point from half-time sub Chris Nolan. Marty Kavanagh followed that up with a double, one each from play and from free, to get his side within two.
Laois were struggling at the other end, but Ross King got them going with a free, and then Ciaran McEvoy threaded a shot between the posts from a tight angle to send them four ahead.
Carlow came back once more, Marty Kavanagh again leading the charge as they got within one with ten minutes to go, and then a John Nolan point in the 69th minute got them back on level terms.
However, within a minute King had restored the Laois lead with a free. Kavanagh had a late chance to draw Carlow level, but his effort tailed off to the left, as Laois held on for the victory.
Scorers for Laois: Ross King 0-12 (9fs), Ciaran McEvoy, Willie Dunphy, Aaron Dunphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carlow: Marty Kavanagh 0-11 (8fs), Chris Nolan 0-2, John Nolan 0-1.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Liam Senior, Matthew Whelan, Donncha Hartnett; Ciaran McEvoy, Padraig Delaney, Jack Kelly; John Lennon, Fiachra C Fennell; Paddy Purcell, James Ryan, Aaron Dunphy; Ross King, Willie Dunphy, Eoin Gaughan.
Subs: Cian Taylor for A Dunphy (57), Ronan Broderick for Kelly (59), Ciaran Comerford for Fennell (66).
CARLOW: Damien Jordan; Michael Doyle, Paul Doyle, Ross Smithers; Alan Corcoran, David English, Gary Bennett; Aaron Amond, Kevin McDonald; Diarmuid Byrne, John Michael Nolan, Jack Kavanagh; Ted Joyce, Martin Kavanagh, Paul Coady.
Subs: Chris Nolan for Coady (HT), John Nolan for Amond (56), Sean Whelan for Joyce (57), Edward Byrne for D Byrne (64), Michael Malone for JM Nolan (67).
REFEREE: Cathal McAllister (Cork).