Laois no match for Allen's Limerick

Limerick 1-24 Laois 2-12

Limerick 1-24 Laois 2-12

Limerick always looked comfortable when registering a nine-point Division 1B win over Laois at O'Moore Park.

John Allen's charges led throughout with their only goal coming from captain David Breen, moving them 1-6 to 0-2 in front after 13 minutes.

Laois rallied with a first half injury-time goal from Michael McEvoy keeping them in touch.

Five points separated the sides with 21 minutes remaining, but the Shannonsiders struck seven points without reply.

Brian Dunne's injury-time goal was mere consolation for the midlanders.

Both sides made one personnel change each to their starting line-ups from their previous outings, with Glenroe's Stephen Walsh replacing Sean O'Brien in the Limerick defence.

Under-21 player Stephen Maher was included in the Laois half-forward line at the expense of Dayne Peacock.

Limerick began the game at a lightning pace, eager to put their disappointing loss to Munster rivals Clare in the previous round behind them.

Graeme Mulcahy was razor sharp for the visitors early on with two excellent scores from play, ensuring an early 0-2 to 0-0 advantage.

Laois though created the first real goal-scoring opportunity of the contest from the resulting puck out. Neil Foyle sent the ball across the Limerick goalmouth, but Tommy Fitzgerald failed to connect.

However, the hosts made amends when the ball fell to midfielder Brian Dunne who was able to open their account with a point.

Limerick's strategy of landing high balls in on top of their full-forward line reaped huge dividends as they tagged on three unanswered points with Mulcahy (0-2) and Niall Moran on target to make it 0-5 to 0-1.

Indeed, they could have been further in front at this juncture but for an infringement in the seventh minute, which saw referee Tony Carroll rule out a Moran goal effort for a square ball.

Laois kept in touch thanks to a Hyland free in the tenth minute, but Limerick continued to look dangerous. Mulcahy added his fourth point and Limerick's sixth before they struck their only goal of the game.

Mikey Ryan cut through the Laois defence initially and sent a powerful shot goalbound, Laois goalkeeper Eoin Reilly pulled off a fine save but Breen tucked home the rebound to give his side a 1-6 to 0-2 advantage.

Limerick pressed on with excellent scores from Mulcahy and Na Piarsaigh's Shane Dowling to open up a nine-point lead by the quarter hour mark.

Laois responded strongly by hitting four of the next five scores, with Dunne, Hyland and Fitzgerald all on target to close the gap to 1-9 to 0-6.

At the other end, goal scorer Breen continued to lead by example with two superb points from play in the 25th and 26th minutes. Reilly, in the Laois goal, also had to be on his toes to prevent the concession of a second goal.

The Abbeyleix clubman pulled off another great save from Niall Moran in the 28th minute, and Hyland and Dowling traded points before Laois upped their game in attack.

Centre-back Joe Fitzpatrick sent over a long range point and then McEvoy registered his goal. The bounce of the ball deceived Limerick goalkeeper Nicky Quaid to leave just four points between the sides.

Dowling had the final say of the half with a pointed free as Limerick turned around 1-14 to 1-9 to the good.

Allen's men extended their lead to seven points inside six minutes of the restart thanks to a brace of points from the very effective Dowling.

The Na Piarsaigh clubman suffered a dead leg shortly afterwards, but his forward colleague Conor Allis took on the free-taking duties for the remainder of the game and proved uerring.

Laois responded with three of the next four points - all from the stick of Hyland - to leave the scoreline at 1-17 to 1-12, with 20 minutes remaining.

Teddy McCarthy's outfit suffered a crucial slump after that, allowing Limerick to strengthen their grip on proceedings with Allis adding five points and Moran and Breen also on target.

Limerick led by 1-24 to 1-12 following Breen's fourth point with three minutes left on the clock. Dunne's goal, deep in injury-time, was meaningless in the end as Laois were left to rue 13 wides.

Scorers - Limerick: D Breen 1-4, G Mulcahy, S Dowling (0-4f) 0-6 each, C Allis 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 '65'), N Moran 0-2, M Ryan 0-1

Laois: W Hyland 0-8 (0-6f), B Dunne 1-2, M McEvoy 1-0, T Fitzgerald, J Fitzpatrick 0-1 each

LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahony; P Browne, J Ryan; S Dowling, D Breen, C Allis; G Mulcahy, N Moran, M Ryan.

Subs used: D Moloney for Condon (17-22 mins, blood sub), T Ryan for O'Mahony (63), N Maher for J Ryan (65), M Carmody for M Ryan, D Moloney for Condon (both 67)

LAOIS: E Reilly; B Stapleton, D Maher, B Smith; C Dunne, J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan; James Walsh, B Dunne; W Hyland, M McEvoy, S Maher; J Brophy, N Foyle, T Fitzgerald.

Subs used: P Mullaney for Smith (27 mins), W Dunphy for Brophy (45), S Bourke for Walsh (56), D Peacock for S Maher (65), D O'Mahoney for Fitzgerald (69)

Referee: Tony Carroll (Offaly).

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