Waterford manage to overcome a rampant Laois

WATERFORD's perfect record in the top flight of the NHL remains intact after overcoming a tenacious Laois at Walsh Park yesterday.

Waterford 0-25 Laois 3-11

Seven days after victory against the League and All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in Nowlan Park, Justin McCarthy's side at times struggled to contain a rampant Laois who showed little regard for the home side's heroics of a week ago.

Indeed they should have goaled as early as the first minute but Damien Culleton fluffed a glorious chance with only goalkeeper Ian O'Regan to beat. It was an ominous sign of things to come for the home side who were to concede two goals in a shattering 60 second spell.

The first arrived on seven minutes as the excellent Liam Tynan shot past O'Regan, who was left horribly exposed by his defence.

Within a minute, things lurched from bad to worse for the home side.

Again the defending was second rate but Culleton's finish was clinical as the speedy Tommy Fitzgerald ghosted past his marker and set up the chance. Tynan then flashed over a great point as Waterford appeared to flounder.

Then enter Tony Browne. Browne's steadying influence in the centre of defence was crucial, and with Dan Shanahan emerging in his man of the match role, Waterford began to break free from the Laois stranglehold.

John Mullane's switch from corner to wing forward worked wonderfully and when he, Shanahan, and Paul Flynn landed long range points the deficit was down to 2-6 to 0-11 at the interval.

Laois, now facing into a strong wind, were expected to roll over. They did anything but and had a third goal with 90 seconds of the restart when Culleton again availed of the frailties of the Waterford backline.

Yet again, big Dan Shanahan was the man to settle things with the lead point on 52 minutes. Seamas Prendergast added another before Paul Flynn unerringly landed two more.

Substitute Jack Kennedy and Shanahan further extended their lead and though their industrious midfielder James Young twice found the range from Laois frees, Prendergast shot Waterford's 25th point to leave them the undisputed but hard pressed victors.

Scorers: Waterford; P. Flynn(0-9, 0-8 frees); D. Shanahan(0-6); J. Mullane(0-3); D. Bennett(0-3, 0-2 frees); S. Prendergast(0-2); E. Kelly, J. Kennedy(0-1) each. Laois; D. Culleton(2-1); J. Young(0-5, frees); L. Tynan(1-1); T. Fitzgerald(0-2); D. Cuddy(0-2).

WATERFORD: I. O'Regan; T. Feeney. D. Prendergast. D. O'Brien; E. Murphy. T. Browne. B. Phelan; D. Bennett. M. Walsh; E. Kelly. D. Shanahan. P. Flynn; J. Mullane. S. Prendergast. S. Ryan; Subs; J. Kennedy for Kelly; D. Coffey for Feeney; B. Wall for Walsh; P. O'Brien for Flynn; S. O'Sullivan for Ryan.

LAOIS: K. Calvin; L. Mahon. P. Cuddy. C. Cuddy; M. McEvoy. F. Keenan. J. Fitzpatrick; J. Young. J. Walsh; C.Coonan. D. Cuddy. S. Dwyer; T. Fitzgerald. L. Tynan. D. Culleton; Subs; J. Dunne for Fitzpatrick; E. Maher for Dwyer; C. Brophy for Keenan; D. Walsh for J. Walsh; P. Mahon for L. Mahon.

Referee: John McDonnell, (Tipperary).

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