Micheál Donoghue made seven changes after his side’s promotion hopes suffered a major setback at Pearse Stadium two weeks ago when they folded in the closing stages against Wexford, so they were in no mood to take it easy at any stage yesterday at the Salthill venue.
A crowd of more than 7,000 witnessed that game a fortnight earlier but this time just 2,327 braved the wet and cold as the Tribesmen came out of the blocks with the wind, led by 0-9 to 0-0 after just eight minutes and were out of sight with a 15-point lead by the interval.
“We needed to get a good start against them,” said Laois manager Eamon Kelly. “We knew they were going to come out all guns blazing after being beaten by Wexford here the last day. Galway were very sharp. We were disappointed that we didn’t come to the plate a bit earlier in the game.
“We were nine points down in as many minutes. We responded a bit better after that. Our inside back-line were exceptional, for a team that was under pressure all day, I thought the three boys were outstanding.”
His goalkeeper Enda Rowland, fresh from his exploits with DJ Carey’s IT Carlow, kept the interval margin to 0-20 to 0-5 with a couple of great saves from Jason Flynn and Joseph Cooney.
But all six Galway forwards were on the scoresheet by the 13th minute and by half-time Cathal Mannion — back with his brother Padraic from club duty with Ahascragh-Fohenagh — Conor Cooney, and Thomas Monaghan, starting his first league game, had scored 0-3 each from play.
Ross King pulled back a couple of points after the restart for Laois but Galway won the third quarter 1-8 to 0-2 against the wind, with Cathal Mannion firing home the first goal after good work by the impressive Paul Flaherty and David Burke.
The introduction of Joe Canning added further potency to the Galway attack and he blasted home a penalty after Stephen Bergin got a goal moments earlier for Laois.
Conor Whelan became the 14th Galway player to score when he got their third goal five minutes from time as the Tribesmen got back to winning ways as Laois were brought back to earth after their win over Kelly’s former side Offaly last time out.
“It’s a big defeat but you have to see what you can do,” added Kelly. “You are going to learn an awful lot about your players. We have a very young squad. We have very few players over 23 years of age in this. It’s just very important that we respond with our performance. I don’t think we performed to anywhere near our potential today and that’s the disappointing part of it.”
Galway’s promotion hopes may be out of their own hands but Donoghue was pleased with the response.
“After the result two weeks ago we were collectively very disappointed with it. In fairness. the lads applied themselves really well in training and brought that to the game today.
“We got a good start. We had the elements as well. A good start is half the battle. The lads racked up a few good scores early and it gave us a good platform to push on for the rest of the game.”
C Mannion (1-5); J Flynn (0-6, 4 frees, 1 65); J Canning (1-2, 1-0 pen); P Flaherty (0-5); C Whelan (1-0); C Cooney, T Monaghan (0-3 each); J Cooney, David Burke, P Mannion, P Killeen, A Harte, Daithi Burke, J Coen (0-1)
R King (0-6, 3 frees, 1 65); S Bergin (1-0); A Corby, P Purcell, C Taylor, B Conroy, A Dunphy (0-1).
J Skehill; P Killeen, J Hanbury, P Mannion; A Harte, Daithi Burke, S Loftus; J Coen, David Burke; C Mannion, J Cooney, P Flaherty; J Flynn, T Monaghan, C Cooney.
J Canning for J Cooney (44), E Burke for Killeen (50), C Whelan for C Cooney (53), G Lally for P Mannion (55), M Keating for Monaghan (66).
E Rowland; C Healy, L Bergin, D Palmer; S Downey, R Mullaney, P Whelan; C Taylor, P Purcell; E Lyons, A Corby, R King; W Dunphy, N Foyle, B Conroy.
A Dunphy for Lyons (30), S Bergin for W Dunphy (51, blood), J Kelly for Mullaney (62), E Killeen for Corby (67), L O’Connell for Palmer (75).
Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).