By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Galway continued their good start to the season with a bloodless victory over a dreadful Laois at O’Moore Park.
The FBD League champions laid the groundwork for this Allianz League Division 2 victory in the first half, at the end of which they led by 11 points.
Laois were toothless in attack, scoring only one point in the first half and not registering their first score from play until substitute Daniel O’Reilly’s 42nd minute goal.
The hosts were completely unable to cope with the Galway runners, although the westerners created many of their countless overlaps much too easily in the opening period.
This was due in large to the unwillingness or inability of the forward sextet in particular to track and that absence of workrate, or presence of naivety, left the defence with an almost impossible task, being outnumbered so often.
And such was the supply due to the superiority of the Galway rearguard, that forwards of the calibre of Damien Comer and Adrian Varley were always going to enjoy themselves.
Varley had a point after 25 seconds but the game might have had a different complexion had Donie Kingston not had his nonchalantly side-footed penalty finger-tipped around the post by Thomas Dolan in the third minute.
Galway punished the failure to capitalise on the opportunity, using the speed of their runners from deep time and time again.
Varley had an easy finish for a sixth minute goal after a strong run by Liam Silke and points followed from Liam Hoare, the eye-catching David Wynne and Comer.
Comer followed up with a brilliant goal, when he rescued a wayward delivery with a clean catch over his head, slipped his marker Daniel Seale and blasted low to the far corner of the net.
It was 2-6 to 0-1 at half time and Laois manager, Mick Lillis made his dissatisfaction clear, making four substitutions, with three forwards making way as well as another who had finished up in attack. What’s more, they weren’t his first changes, having relieved Seale of his marking duties on Comer 10 minutes before the break.
In fairness, they did produce some improvement but the damage had been done. Galway had three points on the board when O’Reilly blasted first time beyond Dolan, after Kingston’s initial attempt was blocked, but when Comer fisted Varley’s diagonal delivery brilliantly to the net at the other end of the field four minutes later, any prospect of a comeback was extinguished.
To give Laois credit, they did show a renewed vigour and did not allow the floodgates to open completely, offering more of a scoring threat and providing but the game was over.
Gary Walsh did score an excellent solo point and others from Paul Cahillane, Kingston, Darren Strong and the hard-working Evan O’Carroll put a better gloss on the scoreboard, but there was no masking Galway’s dominance.
Galway: T Dolan, D Wynne 0-1, D Kyne, E Kerin, L Silke, G O’Donnell 0-2, J Heaney 0-1, P Conroy 0-2, F Ó Curraoin, T Flynn, E Hoare 0-2(1f), E Tierney, D Comer 2-2, A Varley 1-1, E Brannigan 0-1. Subs: S Walsh for Brannigan (50), P Cooke for Hoare (57), P Mannion for Varley BC (62), A Kyne for Kerin (70), S Denvir for Heaney (70)
Laois: G Brody, R Kehoe, M Timmons, D Seale, D Strong 0-1, P Cotter, G Dillon, K Meaney, J O’Loughlin, J Farrell, N Murphy, A Farrell, D Kingston 0-3(2fs), E O’Carroll 0-1, P Cahillane 0-3. Subs: K Lillis for Seale (25), P Kingston for Murphy (ht), G Walsh 0-1 for N Farrell (ht), D O’Reilly 1-0 for J Farrell (ht), T Collins 0-1 for O’Loughlin (ht), D O’Connor for Dillon (50)
Referee: C Branagan (Down)