Laois destroyed by Limerick
Limerick 6-21 Laois 1-11
Limerick powered to a facile 25-point All-Ireland SHC qualifier win over Laois at the Gaelic Grounds tonight.
John Allen's charges always looked likely winners and led by 2-10 to 0-3 at the interval, with David Breen and Niall Moran netting their goals.
Laois captain Willie Hyland (1-10) scored all bar one point of Laois's tally, with Stephen Maher hitting the other point.
Limerick firmly killed off the contest with late goals from Shane Dowling and Tommy Quaid.
Laois made two changes to their side announced in midweek, with Nathan Unwin replacing James Walsh in defence and up front Chris Murray slotted in at right corner forward in place of Dayne Peacock.
But any hopes of a shock result for the visitors were quickly extinguished. They were on the back foot right from the off as Limerick were ruthless throughout.
Laois goalkeeper Eoin Reilly had to be alert to catch an early scoring effort under the crossbar from Paul Browne. Defences were on top in the opening minutes before Dowling broke the scoring deadlock with the first point in the sixth minute from a free.
Dowling and Graeme Mulcahy virtually ran the Limerick show in the opening quarter, with Mulcahy adding back-to-back points to give Limerick a 0-3 to 0-0 lead after eight minutes.
Laois fought back with a Hyland point, but they found scores hard to come by. Teddy McCarthy's side had a goal-scoring chance for Maher cut off by midfielder James Ryan, while Maher also sent a 13th minute effort wide of the target.
In contrast Limerick were much more clinical with Dowling pushing them 0-6 to 0-1 ahead after 15 minutes. Reilly's net was breached for the first time at the end of the first quarter, Breen slotting to the net after a lung-bursting run from midfielder Ryan.
There was no let up from the hosts as points from Dowling and Mulcahy stretched their advantage to 1-8 to 0-1 with 13 minutes to go before the break.
Anything Laois threw at Limerick at this stage was cleared by a resolute defence, with the likes of Tom Condon, Wayne McNamara and Gavin O'Mahony to the fore. Full-forward Niall Moran then pounced for the first of his three goals in the 24th minute, despite an inital block by Reilly.
A sixth Dowling point opened up a 14-point lead in the 31st minute before Laois rallied with Hyland landing two of the final three points of the half.
Limerick led by 2-10 to 0-3 at the interval, and McCarthy decided to make a series of changes for Laois at the break with Brendan Reddin and Andrew Collier both introduced.
Hyland claimed the first score of the second half and although Laois matched Limerick well over the third quarter, the Shannonsiders closed out this one-sided game in some style.
Hyland rattled off points for Laois but once Moran cracked home his second goal with 17 minutes remaining, it opened up a 17-point gap.
Indeed, the Ahane attacker completed his hat-trick just a minute-and-a-half later. He beat Reilly once more after receiving a pass from Breen.
Hyland bagged Laois' only goal in the 62nd minute, but this was mere consolation as Limerick found an extra gear in the closing stages.
Dowling brought his tally to 1-08 before the Shannonsiders, who face Antrim next weekend, added 1-3 without reply including a goal from substitute Quaid.
Scorers - Limerick: S Dowling 1-8 (0-5f, 0-1 '65'), N Moran 3-1, D Breen, T Quaid 1-1 each, G Mulcahy, D Hannon 0-3 each, S Tobin, J Ryan, P O'Brien, T O'Brien 0-1 each
Laois: W Hyland 1-10 (0-7f, 0-1 '65'); S Maher 0-1
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahoney; J Ryan, P Browne; S Dowling, B Geary, D Breen; G Mulcahy, N Moran, S Tobin.
Subs used: P O'Brien for Browne (24 mins), D Hannon for Tobin (44), S O'Neill for Condon (55), T O'Brien for Geary (58), T Quaid for Mulcahy (66).
LAOIS: E Reilly; C Coonan, D Maher, G Burke; N Unwin, M Whelan, M McEvoy; B Dunne, S Hanlon; S Maher, T Fitzgerald, W Hyland; C Murray, N Foyle, W Dunphy.
Subs used: B Reddin for Fitzgerald, A Collier for S Hanlon (half-time), D Peacock for Dunphy (55 mins), S Lowry for Reddin (66).
Referee: Michael Wadding (Waterford)