Latest Laois Sport: Laois blitz neighbours Offaly to underline Championship credentials
Leinster U-16 Championship
Laois 7-13 Offaly 1-05
This fixture was decided by the time the first water break came around. A powerful Laois display in the opening quarter saw the Laois ladies race into a four goals and six points to no score lead. There was to be no way back for an Offaly side that kept fighting until the final whistle but were completely overpowered and outclassed throughout this clash played at Park-Ratheniska GAA’s picture-perfect grounds.
Holly Hanway got the scoreboard ticking off with a sweetly -taken point before a trio of quick fire Laois goals rocked Offaly back on their heels. Katie Donoghue got the game’s opening goal and that opening ‘green flag’ was soon followed by another three-pointer from the boot of Ciara O’ Neill. Donoghue then followed with her second goal to underline her side’s scoring prowess. Hanway was central to most of the Laois attacks. The centre forward made intelligent use of the ample supply of possession to supply her lethal fellow forwards.
A lung-bursting run from O’ Neill was capped off with a peach of a point as Laois drove forward remorselessly. Great interplay between O’ Neill, Byrne and Aerin Ryle saw another smart point notched up. A ‘give and go’ between Byrne and Donoghue saw yet another smartly-taken point added to the Laois tally as the hosts cranked into top gear. Not content with a tally of 3 goals and six points in the opening quarter the lethal Donoghue notched up another well-taken goal to finish off the scoring before the water break.
The second quarter opened with Offaly raiding forward for the first time. Determined defending from both Aoibhe Horay and Alannah Brennan kept the visitors scoreless however. However the Faithful county soon opened the scoring in dramatic fashion. Good work by Hannah Doolan and Kayla O’ Meara saw their side awarded a penalty which Saorah Doyle dispatched with ease. Any chance of an Offaly revival were dashed soon after as Laois, but especially Aoife Cummins, won back possession again and again. After this rocky spell Laois resumed their dominance outfield with a Byrne point. A poor Offaly kick out then gave Laois the chance of a fifth goal which the O’ Moore women took. Leah Murphy in the Offaly goals soon made amends with a brave stop at the feet of Donoghue. Just as Laois were hitting the high gears again they were reduced to fourteen players. A very questionable yellow card for half back Alannah Brennan saw the Ballyroan lady in the sin bin for ten minutes.
Despite the numerical disadvantage Laois continued to dominate. Indeed Byrne saw her next shot cannon off the post. The Park-Ratheniska flyer then was crushed to see her subsequent shot smash off the crossbar during her next attack. Luckily for her and Laois Aerin Ryle followed up on the rebound to notch a goal her smart display deserved. At the other end Offaly full forward Saorah Doyle notched up her side’s opening point to add to their earlier penalty goal just before half-time.
Offaly started the second half brightly and good interplay between Caoimhe Lynam and Doyle resulted in a free which Doyle pointed. To add to Laois’ woes their centre back Ciara Malone was inexplicably shown a yellow card and saw the hosts down to thirteen players momentarily. Offaly cranked up the pressure but a superb Faye McEvoy block kept the visitors out. Laois then raided forward and a great Cummins’ ball up the left found Donoghue in space. Inexplicably the referee gave another free out to Offaly, leaving the big attendance scratching their heads.
Brennan came back on to get Laois back up to fourteen on the field. A marvellous O’ Neill run through the heart of the Offaly defence deserved a score but the Sarsfields’ player pulled her shot ever so slightly when shooting just wide. That miss was soon forgotten when intelligent play from Hanway saw the St. Conleth’s star notch a point. The Offaly keeper then pulled off a fine save at the feet of O’ Neill after some slick Laois interplay. Hanway then notched up a wide before superb defending from Ellen Dunne at the other end denied Offaly a score.
Despite being down a player Laois were still dominating. A quick sideline ball from Aoibhe Horay fed Aerin Ryle who in turn put in a nice ball that was smashed home for the host’s seventh goal of the encounter. A great run from Hanway saw the St. Conleth’s tyro feed Byrne. The lethal Park-Ratheniska forward played the ball back to Hanway who pointed. At the other end Offaly notched up a point. However inspired blocking and defending from Alannnah Brennan scotched a flurry of Offaly attacks. The Offaly keeper was called into action again when saving smartly at the feet of the newly-introduced Ella Byrne. Laois were now up to their full complement of fifteen as Ciara Malone came back on. Laois were now relentless even with a raft of substitutes introduced. Donoghue ended the third quarter with a fine point to leave Laois in a commanding 7-10 to 1-03 lead.
The resumption of play after the water break saw the sharp Ella Byrne notch up another point. Donoghue then added another to her huge personal haul. When Offaly raided forward next inspired defending from newly-introduced Kate Wall kept the Laois goals intact. Offaly did point with their next attack before Laois broke at the other end only to see newly-introduced Lilly Hooney’s shot well saved by the Offaly goalie. A flurry of Laois wides followed before Hannah McEvoy pointed. A Laois shot smacked off the Offaly post and McEvoy reacted fastest to sweep the rebound over the bar for the last Laois score of the encounter.
This was a commanding display from Laois. In defence Aoibhe Horay, Alannah Brennan and Ciara Malone were fantastic. The midfield pairing of Faye McEvoy and Shannon Fitzpatrick did a huge amount of work to feed their lethal forwards inside. All six starting forwards for Laois deserve praise. Their ruthlessness ensured the tie was over as a contest at the first water break. The half-forward line of Cummins, Hanway and O’ Neill complemented to perfection the full-forward trio of Ryle, Donoghue and Byrne. The Laois People ‘Player of the Match’ was Holly Hanway. The St. Conleth’s layer did get on the scoreboard but with was her intelligent passing and her assists that ensured her forward unit purred to perfection.
Brianna Dunne; Melissa Donnelly, Ellen Dunne, Aoibhe Horay; Alannah Brennan, Ciara Malone, Orlaith McNamara; Faye McEvoy, Shannon Fitzpatrick; Aoife Cummins, Holly Hanway, Ciara O’ Neill; Aerin Ryle, Katie Donoghue, Tara Byrne.
Ella Byrne, Rachel Donagher, Hannah McEvoy, Lilly Hooney, Aoibheann Dalton, Alice Kerins, Kate Wall & Jane Ramsbottom
Full squad listed in Laois LGFA post below.