Allianz HL D1B: Galway overpower Laois
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
GALWAY 1-27 LAOIS 2-15
By Declan Rooney at Pearse Stadium
Galway had no trouble claiming their first win of Division 1B in the hurling league as Davy Glennon’s first-half goal and ten Joe Canning points helped them to a nine-point win over Laois at Pearse Stadium.
There were masterful performances from Padraic and Cathal Mannion as Micheál Donoghue’s youthful side proved far too strong for Eddie Brennan’s outfit.
John Lennon’s fired two goals in the second-half but it only softened Galway’s winning margin as second-half scores from Thomas Monaghan and Canning send Galway to a routine win.
The tone for this game was set after seven seconds when Cathal Mannion struck a point from the left, and a minute later his midfield partner Sean Loftus doubled their lead when he was left all alone near halfway.
Galway’s forwards rotated their positions throughout, which caused problems for Eddie Brennan’s side, and with just two men in the full-forward line there was plenty of space for Padraic Mannion and Joe Canning – who often dropped deep into his half-back line – to pick accurate passes into their danger men.
Laois landed their first point after three minutes when a Canning sideline cut was intercepted and Paddy Purcell split the posts, but that was a rare break for the Laois defence.
A Canning free was followed quickly by Cathal Mannion’s second and third points as Galway pulled four ahead by the seventh minute, and despite Aaron Dunphy’s score for Laois, Galway hit five points without reply to lead 0-10 to 0-2 by the midway point of the half.
For the most part, Galway goalkeeper Fergal Flannery elected to work their puck-outs short to his corner backs, and with Galway playing short stick passes through the lines, they found it easy to pick Laois apart.
Two frees from Scully kept Laois within range, but a good Jack Coyne score was followed by Davy Glennon’s goal in the 25th minute, which meant Galway led by 1-12 to 0-4 with ten minutes to go to the interval.
Scully brought his tally to five pointed frees by the break as the teams shared the next six points, but with Padraic Mannion excelling at centre-back Galway were good value for their 1-15 to 0-7 advantage at the break.
After the break Galway reverted to an orthodox forward line against the wind, but it was two long range Canning frees that stretched their advantage – his seventh and eighth of the game.
Canning’s brilliant reverse pass launched a Galway attack that ended in a Glennon point six minutes after the break, but the Galway full back line fell asleep in the 45th minute when Dunphy flicked a sideline cut into the path of John Lennon and he flicked to the net to close the gap to 11 points.
Galway’s response was emphatic though. Thomas Monaghan punished a loose pass out of defence from Laois and doubled his tally in the 51st minute after Ronan Burke sent him on his way with a brilliant high catch at the back.
Canning landed his first point from play moments before he was replaced with 12 minutes remaining, and despite Laois scoring four in a row and Lennon firing his second goal in the closing stages, this was easy for Galway.
Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-10 (8f, 0-1 65), Davy Glennon 1-2, Cathal Mannion 0-4, Thomas Monaghan 0-2, Sean Loftus 0-2, Sean Bleahene 0-2, Aidan Harte 0-1, Padraic Mannion 0-1, Jack Coyne 0-1, Tadhg Haran 0-1 (1f), Brian Concannon 0-1.
Scorers for Laois: John Lennon 2-0, PJ Scully 0-6 (6f), Mark Kavanagh 0-4 (4f), Jack Kelly 0-2, Paddy Purcell 0-1, Aaron Dunphy 0-1, Cha Dwyer 0-1.
GALWAY: Fergal Flannery; Jack Grealish, Ronan Burke, Sean Linnane; Kevin Hussey, Padraic Mannion, Aidan Harte; Cathal Mannion, Sean Loftus; Sean Bleahene, Joe Canning, Jack Coyne; Thomas Monaghan, Brian Concannon, Davy Glennon. Substitutes: Ronan O’Meara for Coyne (57), Jack Fitzpatrick for Harte (58), Sean Kilduff for Canning (60), Shane Bannon for Grealish (64), Tadhg Haran for Monaghan (68).
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Donncha Hartnett, Matthew Whelan, Joe Phelan; Jack Kelly, Ryan Mullaney, Padraig Delaney; Conor Phelan, PJ Scully; Eanna Lyons, Mark Kavanagh, Paddy Purcell; John Lennon, Aaron Dunphy, Stephen Maher. Substitutes: Sean Downey for Delaney (42), Neil Foyle for Maher (51), Cha Dwyer for Scully (58), Aaron Bergin for Lyons (61), Jake Cranny for Phelan (68).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).