Late Laois hat-trick fails to defeat Down

Down 3-15 Laois 3-11

Down 3-15 Laois 3-11

Laois mustered a late hat-trick of goals, but Gerard Monan's Down side still finished on top in this Allianz Hurling League encounter at Ballycran.

Down looked well on course for their second win in Division 2 when they opened up a 2-08 to 0-06 lead for half-time. Paul Braniff (1-07) and Gareth Johnson (2-2) netted the goals.

Eoin Clarke, James Coyle and Andy Savage landed Down's other first half scores, with all bar one point of their tally in the opening 35 minutes coming from play.

Laois kept in touch thanks to the efforts of Willie Hyland, John Brophy and Chris Murray and the visitors made further in-roads on the restart.

Brendan Fennelly's charges were much more effective in the closing 35 minutes, but only after Johnson had fired home his second goal in the 47th minute.

Down led by 3-14 to 0-10 with 10 minutes remaining, before leaking a series of goals - all three Laois strikes came in a five-minute spell.

Second half substitute Neil Foyle grabbed the first two, with his second created by a well-placed ball in from Noel Costello.

Hyland billowed the Down net two minutes later, cutting the deficit back to four points with just three minutes of normal time remaining.

Braniff converted a 65-metre free to steady the hosts and although this was cancelled out by an Eoin Costello score, Down held on to take the points.

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