Dublin hurlers through to Walsh Cup semi-finals
DUBLIN 1-28 LAOIS 0-17
By Paul Keane
It wasn't quite revenge on a chilly evening in January but a Walsh Cup win for Dublin was surely sweet all the same.
Almost exactly six months since being knocked out of last year's Championship by Laois, Dublin were comfortable 14-point victors in this rescheduled Round 1 tie to set up a semi-final clash with Galway on Sunday.
Dublin lined out with eight of the players that took to the field for that All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final tie and led from the first score, Oisin O'Rorke's second minute converted free, until full-time.
John Hetherton top scored with 1-3 including a 1-2 burst of scoring that arrived in the space of 90 seconds late on while 14 different players in total got on the score-sheet.
Sunday's semi-final will also be a repeat of last summer's Leinster championship game at Parnell Park which Dublin famously won, ending Galway's interest in the Championship.
Dublin are set to be without up to 15 players for that rematch due to the Fitzgibbon Cup so manager Mattie Kenny will rely on fringe and rookie talent ahead of the Allianz League.
Laois had an outside chance of making the semi-finals but needed to win by a double digits margin to get through.
They trailed Dublin by 0-4 to 0-1 after scores from Ronan Hayes, Cian Boland and Eamon Dillon.
Eddie Brennan's side did respond with their own three-in-a-row of points to leave just one in it again after 14 minutes.
But Dublin hit seven of the next eight points to cruise to a comfortable 0-13 to 0-7 interval lead.
Cian O'Callaghan featured in defence for Dublin for the first time since last year's league while Rian McBride lined out after missing most of the 2019 Championship.
There was a first start of 2019 for Hetherton too who scored Dublin's last point of the first-half.
Former Cork U-21 Marc Howard came on at half-time, one of 12 substitutions they made on the evening, and scored 0-2.
Laois did dominate for a 10-minute spell midway through the half and reduced their arrears to four points at that stage but couldn't push on to rescue a result.
Instead it was Dublin that kicked hardest with the finish line in sight and Hetherton's 1-2 came across the 60th and 61st minutes, bringing his tally to 1-3 for the game.
There were eye-catching late scores from Chris Crummey, Alex O'Neill and former Down player Lorcan McMullan too as Dublin won with plenty to spare.
Dublin scorers: John Hetherton 1-3, Tom Connolly 0-5, Oisin O'Rorke 0-5 (0-4f), Eamon Dillon 0-3, Fergal Whitely 0-2, Marc Howard 0-2, Davy Keogh 0-1, Ronan Hayes 0-1, Cian Boland 0-1, Rian McBride 0-1, Chris Crummey 0-1, Alex O'Neill 0-1, Donal Burke 0-1, Lorcan McMullan 0-1.
Laois scorers: Ross King 0-7 (0-4f), Aaron Bergin 0-2, James Ryan 0-2, Aaron Dunphy 0-2, Colm Stapleton 0-1, Stephen Bergin 0-1, Patrick Keating 0-1, Enda Rowland 0-1 (0-1f).
DUBLIN: Alan Nolan; Andrew Dunphy, Paddy Smyth, James Madden; Cian O'Callaghan, Daire Gray, Jake Malone; Rian McBride, Fergal Whitely; Ronan Hayes, Cian Boland, Tom Connolly; Oisin O'Rorke, John Hetherton, Eamon Dillon. Subs: Marc Howard for O'Rorke h/t, Chris Crummey for Gray h/t, Kevin Burke for Smyth h/t, Lorcan McMullan for Whitely h/t, Donal Burke for Boland h/t, David Keogh for Hayes 42, Paul Crummey for O'Callaghan 47, O'Rorke for Dillon 47, Alex O'Neill for McBride 53, Luke Corcoran for Malone 55, Enda O'Donnell for Connolly 61, Connolly for Madden 68.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Liam Senior, Frank Flanagan, Daniel Comerford; Jack Kelly, Donncha Hartnett, Ryan Mullaney; Fiachra Fennell, Ciaran Comerford; Aaron Dunphy, James Keyes, James Ryan; Patrick Keating, Ross King, Aaron Bergin. Subs: Paddy Purcell for Keyes h/t, Padraig Delaney for Senior h/t, Colm Stapleton for Mullaney 47, Stephen Bergin for Keating 47, Eoin Gaughan for C Comerford 56, Mark Hennessy for Ryan 67.
Referee: Barry Redmond (Wexford).