Laois progress to quarter-finals

LEINSTER SHC (Preliminary round): Laois 1-13 Carlow 0-10

LEINSTER SHC (Preliminary round): Laois 1-13 Carlow 0-10

Laois recovered from an indifferent first half showing in Portlaoise to progress to a quarter-final showdown with Dublin in the Leinster SHC.

Carlow’s power and industry provided Niall Rigney’s men with numerous problems in the first half and earned the underdogs a 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead, despite them having played into a very strong wind.

The speedy Craig Doyle helped the visitors to settle with two early points and they held the upper hand for the remainder of the half.

Laois goalkeeper, Eoin Reilly, sent his puckouts raining down behind the Carlow half-back line but the tactic paid no dividends, with Laois having to rely on the accuracy of Matthew Whelan from placed balls for four of their points.

At the other end, Denis Murphy contributed four points from similar opportunities, and Carlow were full value for their half time advantage, although Laois would have been very concerned by their seven wides in that initial period.

Their inaccuracy remained a feature of the game, as they shot 10 more wides after the resumption, but crucially, they burst out of the traps after the resumption 1-4 without reply to give themselves what ultimately proved the winning margin.

Tommy Fitzgerald was probably their most dangerous forward and he scored two of those points, but it was a goal from the brilliant midfielder, Joe Fitzpatrick in the 40th minute that was the critical score.

The midfielder collected a hand-pass from Willie Hyland before unleashing a thunderous shot that gave Frank Foley no chance.

It could have been worse for Carlow as Fitzgerald was fouled by Des Shaw for a penalty but the defender made amends by saving Hyland’s.

Carlow never gave up and substitutes Paudie Kehoe and Robbie Foley gave them a bit more vigour up front. Foley was hauled down for a penalty but Frank Foley couldn’t make the lengthy journey from the other goals pay, his shot striking the crossbar.

Reilly also made two good saves from Robbie Foley and Doyle but Laois always held the uppher hand over the championship newcomers.

Laois: E Reilly; JA Delaney, C Healy, D Maher; B Campion, M Whelan 0-4(2 65s, 2fs), M McEvoy; J Fitzpatrick 1-3, J Walsh 0-1; W Hyland, C Delaney, E Costelloe -1; Z Keenan, T Fitzgerald 0-3, J Brophy 0-1. Subs: J Purcell for Keenan (50); J Phelan for C Delaney (62); C Dunne for Maher (70); S Dollard for Walsh (70)

Carlow: F Foley; A Corcoran, J Rogers, D Shaw; E Nolan, J Hickey, E Coady; M Brennan, D Byrne 0-1; D Murphy 0-4(3fs, 1 65), S Kavanagh, E Byrne; D Roberts, C Doyle 0-3, A Gaule. Subs: R Coady for Brennan blood (23-24); R Coady for Kavanagh (47); R Foley for Byrne (47); HP O’Byrne for Shaw (58); P Kehoe 0-2(1f) for Murphy (58); B Lawler for Roberts (66)

Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath)

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