Four-goal Kerins adds to Galway thriller

Alan Kerins banged in four goals as Galway got their All-Ireland SHC qualifier campaign off to a thrilling start in Portlaoise.

All-Ireland SHC qualifier:

Section A -

Laois 2-13 Galway 7-18, Portlaoise

Alan Kerins banged in four goals as Galway got their All-Ireland SHC qualifier campaign off to a thrilling start in Portlaoise.

In front of 1,500 spectators, Kerins tallied up an impressive 4-02 from play to guide Galway past the midlanders.

Goalkeeper and captain Patrick Mullaney was undoubtedly Laois’ best player despite the concession of seven goals.

Galway led 3-08 to 0-06 at the break with full-forward Richie Murray scoring two majors.

Mark Rooney (2-01) kept Laois interested but the Tribesmen ran riot in the second half with Kerins and Damien Hayes (1-02) figuring in the goal glut.

Midway through the opening half at O'Moore Park, Conor Hayes' men were already 3-04 to 0-02 to the good, with five of their forwards on the scoresheet by the 12th-minute. Kerins, Murray and Damien Hayes formed a makeshift full-forward line.

Murray was on a hat trick and looked odds-on to get in towards the end of the half, but his shot was brilliantly blocked away by Mullaney - only for the lurking Kerins to flash it home to the Laois net.

Laois' free-taker James Young had scored 0-08 (5f) by the final whistle. A couple of his points, allied to a 45th-minute goal from substitute Rooney, buoyed the home crowd at 3-09 to 1-09.

Galway, who face Waterford in two weeks' time, then upped the gears with Kerins waltzing in for his second goal, Hayes added a point and Kerins notched his third after a great run and offload from David Forde.

Rooney's second goal arrived on 55 minutes when he smashed home a long ball from John Walsh. Still, Galway had time for Kerins' fourth (65 minutes) and Hayes' only green flag - both scored within a minute of each other.

GALWAY - L Donoghue; D Joyce, T Og Regan, O Canning; D Hardiman, S Kavanagh, MJ Quinn; F Healy (0-03), D Collins; G Farragher (0-04 (1f, 1 '65'), D Forde (0-01), A

Keary (0-02); A Kerins (4-02), R Murray (2-01), D Hayes (1-02).

Subs used: G Mahon for Quinn (52 mins), E Lynch for Collins, C Connolly (0-02) for Murray, K Burke (0-01) for Kerins (all 67).

LAOIS - P Mullaney; B Campion, P Cuddy, M McEvoy; J Delaney, J Walsh, J Hyland; J Fitzpatrick (0-02 (1 sl)), J Phelan (0-01); J Brophy, J Young (0-8 (5f)), C Healy; Z Keenan (0-01 (1f)), T Fitzgerald, J Hooban.

Subs used: M Rooney (2-01) for Hooban (32 mins), W Hyland for Brophy (53), D Culleton for Keenan (59).

Referee: Brian White (Tipperary)

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