Latest Laois News: Dublin’s surge in final quarter puts Laois away
Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B
Laois 1-19 Dublin 0-30
By John Hayes
After a blistering start from a rejigged Laois side their opponents had much the better of the second quarter. That period between the water break and half-time saw Laois’ use of the ball dip alarmingly, getting bottled up or shooting into the Dublin goalkeeper’s hand. However two quickfire Ross King points just before the interval saw Laois cut Dublin’s lead to two points at the break.
The second half saw Dublin dominate the middle third with Laois only sporadically getting their running and off-loading game going. A feature of the last two quarters was the Laois players getting penalised for over-carrying. That said the hosts only trailed by four points at the second water break. A ruthless Dublin motored on though and dominated the final quarter running out convincing winners by eight points.
Laois began with three changes from the side that was announced earlier. Diarmuid Conway, Matthew Whelan and James Ryan all started instead of the listed trio of Lee Cleere, Ryan Mullaney and Ciaran Comerford. The hosts off very brightly with Paddy Purcell firing off a glorious point off his left inside a minute. Dublin then had to scramble clear a marvellous Jack Kelly sideline as Laois piled on the pressure. Dillon’s equaliser only spurred on the home side further. A huge ball upfield by Matthew Whelan saw PJ Scully win possession smartly under pressure then draw the foul. Scully duly fired over his first placed ball of the day. The Laois momentum continued when a great run from Purcell ended with his smart handpass to Cha Dwyer. The Ballinakill ace made no mistake with a sweet strike off his left. Ciaran Collier then extended the Laois lead when pouncing on a Dublin puck out before drilling over.
Laois had a chance to push their lead out even further but Cha shot just wide after being picked out by a pinpoint Enda Rowland puckout. Purcell then won a free but Scully angled the placed ball wide. Dublin’s response didn’t take long to arrive. Donal Burke fired over the first of his fourteen converted frees then Daire Grey angled his shot over from open play to bring the Metropolitans to within a point of the hosts. The visitors were beginning to get their running game going and Sean Downey did well to stop them getting in on goal. Laois’ response saw poor shot selection let them down. Burke then fired over the equalising free to underline Dublin’s surge into the match.
The visitors’ momentum was stalled however by a quite glorious Cha Dwyer sideline from way out on the right wing that went over off the post. Purcell then got in on the act. Showing wonderful feet to stay in play out on the right flank the midfielder then swung over a glorious point from near the halfway line. Burke popped over his next free to shave the margin down to the minimum once again. Boland then pointed to bring the Dubs level before Scully fired over from way out on the right wing. Downey overcarried to allow Dublin the equaliser from another Burke placed ball after Dillon had nipped in and turned the ball over.
Pegged at seven points apiece at the first water break the resumption of play saw good Laois defending led to a huge Enda Rowland free which put the hosts back in front. Poor discipline from both sides saw frees traded until Burke landed the equaliser from yet another placed ball. Ill discipline from Cha, who needlessly fouled Sutcliffe, resulted in Burke proving his mettle yet again from the resulting free. That put Dublin in the lead for the very first time. The Dubs soon extended their lead before Cha angled over a great point to reduce the margin down to one. Laois’ response saw a great Fennell catch and pass but Kelly shot into the Dublin goalkeeper’s midriff. The Dubs made Laois pay for such wastage when pouncing on Podge Delaney who took too long to strike the ball. Burke swopped and swept his shot over the bar from play. To compound matters Kelly raided forward but again fired into the Dublin keeper’s hand. The visitors soon tacked on another free to extend their lead.
The hosts cut the deficit when Cha fired in an sweet overhead pass to Ross King after a Podge Delaney sideline. The Rathdowney-Errill ace made no mistake with his first point from play. Then King pounced on a poor Dublin sideline to angle over his second inside a minute right on the half-time whistle to leave Laois trailing by two points at the break.
Again the start of the second half saw Laois combine well before Scully fired over a deserved free from the halfway line. However that good work was soon undone when a clear throw from Kelly then a bit of dissent made Burke’s task easy with the placed ball. Scully brought the margin back to one with another free. However a series of silly fouls let Burke fire over two quick frees to stretch Dublin’s lead out to three for the first time in the encounter. That run of ill discipline from Laois was then compounded with another converted Dublin free when the Laois man in possession caught the ball three times. In truth Dublin didn’t have to break a sweat for their scores at this point. They were handed to them. Even when they did foul well inside the Dublin half Burke was able to fire over the resulting placed ball from inside his own ’45’.
A Scully free saw the Dublin lead cut to four before Rowland fired well wide to the left with a long-range placed ball. Dublin broke and a great Sutcliffe pass allowed Moran stitch his shot between the posts. Dublin then almost got through for a goal when intercepting a Laois handpass but Rowland, sensing the danger, came off his line like a scalded cat and conceded a ’65’. That ’65’ was fired over and a smart Dublin interception soon saw a great point from play to pull the visitors seven points clear. Laois’ response saw another Scully free fired over. That period of only Scully scoring for Laois came to an incredible end soon after. Laois worked the ball through the lines for the first time in the half. A reasonable ball in from Collier saw Scully outnumbered. However the Dublin defenders fluffed their lines and Cha, with a smart pick up, fired into the Dublin net with an over the shoulder shot. Class finish to set up a possible Laois fightback as they paused for the second water break.
On the resumption of play Rowland fired another long-range free well wide to the left. Surely that was the signal that those placed balls should be worked through the lines from thereon in. Cha continued his great form however superb defending from Sean Moran meant the Balkinakill ace didn’t add to his tally. A smart James Keyes’ handpass launched another Laois attack but a very poor wide ensued. Rowland then added to the general profligacy with another free sent well wide.
Purcell then picked up a knock which seemed to undo Laois’ efforts to fight back. Sutcliffe came more and more into the game. Dublin were now picking off their points from play with relative ease. In contrast the Laois scoring in those last ten minutes consisted of converted King frees.
Like the Wexford match Laois fell away badly in the final quarter. However their scoring return was much better. Indeed there was a much better conversion from placed balls courtesy of Scully and then King. However Rowland continued to shoot to score from long range when those placed balls should have been the launchpad for working the ball through lines. Cha Dwyer was sharp throughout and Ross King did well at times. Paddy Purcell was a trojan until he went off injured. However one would like to see him avoid contact rather than seeking it out. Again the running game spluttered throughout with a lack of passing options for the man in possession. That or they ran into the teak tough Sutcliffe, Dillon, Boland and Moran. Those four were at the core of a deserved Dublin win.
Laois: PJ Scully 0-6 (6 F’s ), Ross King 0-6 (4 F’s), Cha Dwyer 1-3 (1 sideline ball), Paddy Purcell 0-2, Ciaran Collier 0-1, Enda Rowland 0-1 (1 F),
Dublin: Donal Burke 0-18 (14 F’s, 1 ’65’), Andrew Dunphy 0-2, Conor Burke 0-2, Riain McBride 0-1, Eamon Dillon 0-1, Daire Gray 0-1, Cian Boland 0-1, Sean Moran 0-1, Paul Crummey 0-1, Davy Keogh 0-1, Fergal Whitely 0-1
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Diarmuid Conway, Sean Downey, Donnchadh Hartnett; Jack Kelly, Matthew Whelan, Podge Delaney; Fiachra Fennell, Paddy Purcell; James Ryan, Cha Dwyer, Ciaran Collier; PJ Scully, Ross King, Aaron Dunphy. Subs: James Keyes for Dunphy (46 min), Ciaran Comerford for Ryan and Eoin Gaughan for Scully (both 52 min), Colm Stapleton for Fennell, Ciaran McEvoy for Delaney (injured) (both 66 min)
DUBLIN: Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Eoghan O’Donnell, Andrew Dunphy; Sean Moran, Liam Rushe, Daire Gray; Conor Burke, James Madden; Danny Sutcliffe, Donal Burke, Chris Crummey; Ronan Hayes, Eamon Dillon, Cian Boland. Subs: Oisin O’Rourke for Cian Boland (50m), Davy Keogh for Eamon Dillon (51m), Rian McBride for James Madden (55m), Fergal Whitely for Ronan Hayes (59m), Jake Malone for Sean Moran (65m), John Hetherton for Danny Sutcliffe (70m), Paul Crummey for Chris Crummey (70m)
Referee: Paud Dwyer (Carlow)