Laois 0-11 – 2-22 Limerick
Limerick posted a predictably straightforward victory in this Allianz Hurling League Division One quarter-final on Saturday evening.
The favourites had rung the changes from the side which drew with Clare last weekend, making nine alterations to the roster and starting with just six of those who took the parade in last season’s All-Ireland final.
Laois were missing the influential Willie Hyland and struggled to keep pace with the visitors from the off, falling behind to an early blitz and conceding first-half goals to Seamus Flanagan and Conor Boylan.
Eddie Brennan’s underdogs battled away and enjoyed some decent passages of play but a dozen first-half wides – plus two more which were called back for frees – ensured that they were really fighting insurmountable odds against the All-Ireland champions who led 2-11 to 0-6 at half-time.
Laois managed to reduce some of the leakage in terms of their attack after the break but they were complicit in the escalating damage at their own end when continually coughing up possession – and scores – from short puck outs.
It was their good fortune that Limerick’s own efficiency began to wane in the last half-hour. The Munster side would sign for 14 wides by the finish. Laois’ rally in that regard hit the 20-mark.
None of it mattered much long before the last act.
Scorers for Laois: M Kavanagh (0-6, 5 frees); L Cleere, P Purcell, A Dunphy and J Kelly (all 0-1); E Rowland (0-1 free).
Scorers for Limerick: B Murphy (0-8, 7 frees); S Flanagan (1-2); C Boylan (1-1); G Hegarty and P Casey (both 0-3); D Hannon, R Hanley, D O’Donovan and D Dempsey (all 0-1); D Byrnes (0-1 free);
Laois: E Rowland; J Phelan, M Whelan, D Hartnett; P Delaney, R Mullaney, L Cleere; J Kelly, S Downey; P Purcell, M Kavanagh, A Dunphy; M Dowling, N Foyle, S Bergin.
Subs: PJ Scully for Foyle (28-33) and for Bergin (46); S Maher for Dowling (54); D Connolly for Downey (60); A Bergin for Foyle (66).
Limerick: B Hennessy; T Condon, D Morrissey, W O’Meara; D Byrnes, D Hannon, B Nash; D O’Donovan, R Hanley; G Hegarty, D Dempsey, C Boylan; P Casey, S Flanagan, B Murphy.
Subs: A Costello for Condon (HT); D Reidy for Casey (45); S Dowling for Hegarty (56); C Ryan for Hanley (58); A La Touche Cosgrove for Byrnes (64).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).