Latest Laois Sport: Laois Hurlers go out with whimper as Clare triumph

Latest Laois Sport: Laois Hurlers go out with whimper as Clare triumph

Very poor second-half showing from Laois eases Clare’s path to comfortable win

Laois 1-17 Clare 2-17

The trend of the opening two league fixtures for the O’ Moore men continued here as Laois faded away to nothing in the second period. That the home side’s challenge fell away so alarmingly is galling. At half time Laois seemed in a good position to kick on. They were only trailing by four points at that juncture having competed manfully into a strong wind throughout the opening half. Clare, on the other hand, had amassed so many wides, 13 in all, in the opening half. The Banner men were coming in off the back of an earthquake loss to Antrim and then a late, late mugging at the hands of Wexford. Add to the mix that two Clare players had been ‘pulled’ into the Wexford squad’s COVID outbreak and the scene was set for a rare old go from Laois. The hosts would also have been boosted by the absence of Tony Kelly from the off due to an apparent dead leg/

In the event nothing. Absolutely nothing from the Laois men. Clare rolled up their sleeves in the second period and sliced and diced their opponents at will. Of the Laois contingent only Paddy Purcell seemed to realise Clare were at best ordinary outside of the Shane O’ Donnell and Mark Rodgers axis. Indeed Rodgers, introduced at half-time, looked at ease immediately at Senior Inter-county level. At the other end, despite having the wind at their backs, the Laois forwards drifted out the field too often and far. When a lively Ross King did get on the ball there was no-one in close proximity to support the Rathdowney-Errill ace. Were the Laois forwards not told to push up?

photo of O' Moore Park Portlaoise at dusk
Dispiriting run of Laois losses continues. Photo Credit: Evan Treacy Photography

Clare gobbled up nearly all the breaking ball and dominated the rucks and mauls count in that second period. An increasingly ragged Laois defence gave away free after free in scorable areas and Aidan McCarthy kept firing over the placed balls for the Munster men.

One cannot take any positives for Laois from this defeat. King, in the first half, and Purcell throughout along with a lively Colm Stapleton, until he tired late on, were the pick of the Laois performers. It is a little over six months ago that Laois could, and indeed should, have defeated the same opposition in the Championship. A lot of water has flowed under the O’ Moore bridge since then.

For the Banner side Shane O’ Donnell excelled and reminded us all of his 2013 form. Young Mark Rogers was class when he came on at half time. Malone too was sharp and should have had more than four points at the end in his account.

Scorers for Clare: Aidan McCarthy 0-13 (0-12f), Mark Rodgers 1-2, Shane O’Donnell 1-1, Cathal Malone 0-4, Diarmuid Ryan 0-2, Ian Galvin 0-2, John Conlon 0-1, Jason McCarthy 0-1, David Fitzgerald 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully 0-10 (0-8f, 0-1 65), Ross King 1-2, Paddy Purcell 0-2, Colm Stapleton 0-1, James Ryan 0-1, Jack Kelly 0-1.

CLARE: Eibhear Quilligan; Rory Hayes, Conor Cleary, Aaron Fitzgerald; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, Jack Browne; Cathal Malone, Jason McCarthy; Shane Golden, David Reidy, Shane O’Donnell; Aron Shanagher, Ian Galvin, Aidan McCarthy. Subs: Mark Rodgers for Golden h/t, David Fitzgerald for J McCarthy 45, Colm Galvin for Reidy 56, Domhnall McMahon for Galvin & Cian Nolan for Ryan 63, Darragh Lohan for Conlon & Gary Cooney for O’Donnell 68.

LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Diarmuid Conway, Donnchadh Hartnett, Sean Downey; Conor Phelan, Matthew Whelan, Jack Kelly; Fiachra Fennell, Paddy Purcell; James Ryan, Colm Stapleton, Ciaran Collier; PJ Scully, Eoin Gaughan, Ross King. Subs: Ciaran Comerford for Gaughan 47, Lee Cleere for Phelan & Ciaran McEvoy for Whelan 62, Aaron Dunphy for Stapleton 64, Stephen Bergin for Collier 71.