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Latest Laois News: Laois Footballers besieged in Ennis by slick Clare outfit
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Latest Laois News: Laois Footballers besieged in Ennis by slick Clare outfit

Allianz National Football League Division 2 South

Clare 1-16 Laois 0-12

Laois distant second best to a fitter, hungrier, better drilled Clare side

Laois were a distant second best to a fitter, hungrier, better drilled Clare side in Ennis this afternoon. Such was the performance from the Banner men that Pat Spillane, providing analysis for GAAGo, positively purred about the Clare players. The less said about Laois, on the other hand, the better. The only bright point on a dismal day for the Midlanders was the appearance late on of the evergreen Ross Munnelly. Incredibly the Arles-Kilcruise man was embarking on his 18th season in the Laois colours at senior level.

The writing was writ large on the wall just twenty minutes into this encounter. Clare led by six points to three and were beginning to dominate the middle third totally. In attack the home side were composed while they were clever and disciplined when they had to defend. The high water mark of Clare’s attacking came in the 25th minute. The Clare keeper started the move of the game that ended with Gavin Cooney putting Daniel Walsh through on goal. The Kilmurry Ibrickane half back made no mistake when blasting into the top corner of the Laois netting. What a debut for the youngster.

Clare pushed up on the Laois kickouts and when the visitors were forced to go long with the restarts the home side either won primary possession or broke it out cleverly to a lurking team mate. That attention to the process spoke volumes of the slick hosts.

Dreadful performance from Laois leaves them now in relegation trouble. đź“·Paul Dargan Photography

In contrast Laois offered little going forward and were way too passive when Clare were on the attack. Clever Clare pressure on the ball carrier meant that Donie Kingston had to scramble for primary possession out in the middle of the park. That the Laois full forward had to rove so far out the field was indicative of the systems failure Laois suffered on the day. Kingston should have been at the end of attacks and not instigating them.

The stats will make for some tough reading for the Laois management. One point from play in the opening thirty minutes underlined how ineffective the Laois attack was. Sporadic silly fouls from the hosts though gave Laois the chance to tack on two successful placed balls to leave the O’ Moore men trailing 1-08 to 0-05 at the break.

Any hope of a Laois fightback in the second half evaporated soon after the resumption of play. Poor discipline and tackle technique saw Laois gift the opposition free after free. Clare’s ‘Captain Fantastic’ Eoin Cleary didn’t look that gift horse in the mouth and fired over from the placed ball to notch the half’s opening score. The visitors’ best bit of play saw good work from Evan Carroll rewarded when Paul Kingston swung over a delightful point.

After that normal service resumed again with a masterful Clare midfield pairing again bossing the middle third. Laois, passive and on the back foot, began to give away stupid frees again. A terrible foul by Carroll gave Tubridy the chance to point for Clare. Then a horrible foot pass from Pat O’ Sullivan let Clare counter attack and debutant Daniel Walsh swept over a fine point.

The 45-minute mark came and went with just 2 Laois points from play. At the other end a poor Corbett kick-out saw Tubridy set up his captain who fired over a superb point. Gary Walsh, introduced after half-time, hit the ground running and pointed a long-range free. Fellow sub Brian Byrne got in on the act and fired over to round off a good Laois move. That left the visiting side trailing by 1-12 to 0-08. That was as near as Laois got to reducing the margin to their hosts in the final quarter.

With Bohannon, Walsh, and O’ Connor dominating Clare easily saw off any late Laois challenge. Leading 1-16 to 0-09 Clare relented for the first time and gave away a few consolation scores that only put a bit of a gloss on the scoreline.

This was humbling and frustrating experience for this Laois team, management and supporters. Clare’s pattern of play was clear to see and made sense. Colm Collins deserves all the plaudits that come his way. The Clare Manager had his side playing a bright, attractive and cohesive brand of football. In contrast the Laois system wasn’t cohesive and didn’t make sense. There is no point picking any good performances from this Laois side. There simply weren’t any except one could make an argument for Gary Walsh who did well when introduced. Colm Begley also fought the good fight throughout.

Scorers for Clare: E Cleary (0-10, 4 frees, 1 ’45, 1 sideline); D Walsh (1-2); K Sexton, C O’Connor, D Tubridy (free), P Lillis (0-1 each).

Scorers for Laois: D Kingston (0-5, 2 frees); G Walsh (0-3, 2 frees); C Begley, N Corbett (free), P Kingston, B Byrne (0-1 each).

Clare: S Ryan; C Russell, C Brennan, E Collins; C O’Dea, S Collins, D Walsh; D O’Neill, C O’Connor; D Bohannon, E Cleary, P Lillis; G Cooney, J Malone, K Sexton.

Subs: J McGann for Malone (4), D Tubridy for Sexton (half-time), A Sweeney for E Collins (54), E McMahon for O’Neill (54), A Griffin for Cooney (63), I Ugwueru for O’Dea (66), C Murray for Lillis (66).

Laois: N Corbett; R Pigott, M Timmons, G Dillon; T Collins, C Begley, P O’Sullivan; J O’Loughlin, K Lillis; E Lowry, P Kingston, D O’Reilly; M Barry, D Kingston, E O’Carroll.

Subs: G Walsh for O’Reilly (half-time), B Byrne for Lowry (45), B Daly for Lillis (54), M Keogh for Barry (54), E Buggie for Collins (62), R Munnelly for P Kingston (66), S Bolger for Timmons (66).