Laois hurlers stun Dublin in shock of the summer

Eddie Brennan's Laois hurlers have pulled off the shock of the summer – and maybe many more besides - with an astonishing two-point defeat of Dublin in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.

Laois hurlers stun Dublin in shock of the summer

Dublin 0-23 Laois 1-22

Eddie Brennan's Laois hurlers have pulled off the shock of the summer – and maybe many more besides - with an astonishing two-point defeat of Dublin in the All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final.

The hosts came into the game on the back of a successful Joe McDonagh Cup campaign and were expected to put up a solid fight, but no-one beyond their own dressing-room walls would have expected a result like this.

It was no fluke.

Brennan's boys led for all but a handful of minutes. They never panicked, even when Dublin dragged themselves level just inside the final quarter. The scenes at the end were to be expected, an outpouring of humanity and madness onto the pitch for the most famous win in the county's history since ... God knows when.

There are many ways to frame this but suffice to say that the county has risen from the ashes under their Kilkenny manager this season. How bad did it get for them in recent times? The ten goals they shipped to Cork at this ground in 2011 was probably the nadir but they scraped a few barrels between that and this.

They face Tipperary now next week in the last eight.

Eamonn Dillon of Dublin gets away from Pádraig Delaney of Laois to take a shot on goal that is saved by Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland at O’Moore Park. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Eamonn Dillon of Dublin gets away from Pádraig Delaney of Laois to take a shot on goal that is saved by Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland at O’Moore Park. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

For Dublin this is nothing short of catastrophic. Superb at times in making it through the Leinster round robin, they had shown clear signs of momentum under new boss Mattie Kenny but the winter coming will be a long one as they stew on a performance that never hit the heights expected.

Much of the commentary in the build-up focused on the lack of time Laois had to prepare in the wake of that Joe McDonagh Cup final defeat of Westmeath in Croke Park just seven days before but the hosts looked much the sharper in a first quarter which set the tone for the uphill task in front of Dublin.

Aaron Dunphy's sixth-minute goal was pivotal in that.

The Dubs have been stingy in the extreme when it comes to conceding goals this past few years, in league and championship across two different managerial teams, but they were undone by a touch of brilliance from Ross King who kept a loose ball in play, turned his man and shot straight at the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

Dunphy was on hand to bat it to the net when the rebound developed.

Pádraig Delaney of Laois celebrates with team-mates and supporters. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Pádraig Delaney of Laois celebrates with team-mates and supporters. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

That left Laois four points to the good and Dublin were struggling to come to terms with the midlanders' use of John Lennon as a sweeper – though that tactic was no surprise. They looked sluggish mentally, a result perhaps of the extended break they were afforded when compared to their opponents.

Laois' lead had reached half-a-dozen points by the 20th minute and they managed to stem the worst of the damage when Dublin began to flow and dominate possession midway through the half before responding with a flurry of their own. The gap at the interval was five.

Gauntlet laid.

And accepted.

Dublin dominated the third quarter, rattling off three unanswered points that should have been five had Oisin O'Rorke not squandered two simple dead ball attempts. That aside, Dublin looked good, the deficit slowly but surely being reduced against a Laois side that was failing to make anything stick in an outmanned forward line.

A sensational Enda Rowland save from Danny Sutcliffe, batting the ball away with the bas of his outstretched stick, kept the wolr from the doro a while longer but Dublin finally drew level with one of O'Rorke's many dead balls with 15 minutes to go.

Game up? Not yet.

Three consecutive points from the underdogs was the response. This one was going to the wire. To and fro it went. Laois had two golden chances to out it to bed in injury time when holding a three-point lead and they finally secured the win when a last-gasp Sean Moran free was tipped over the bar.

Cue insanity.

Scorers for Dublin: O O'Rorke (0-12, 0-10 free, 0-1 '65'); C Boland (0-3); R Hayes and D Sutcliffe (both 0-2); C Keaney, E Dillon (both 0-1); S Moran and P Ryan (both 0-1 free).

Scorers for Laois: M Kavanagh (0-9, 0-6 frees, 0-1 '65'); A Dunphy (1-2); W Dunphy (0-4); C Dwyer (0-2); J Kelly, P Purcell, R King (all 0-1); E Rowland (0-2 frees).

Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, S Barrett, J Madden; C Crummey, S Moran, D O'Connell; S Treacy, T Connolly; C Keaney, D Sutcliffe, C Boland; O O'Rorke, R Hayes, E Dillon. Subs: F Whitely for Treacy (53); P Ryan for Keaney (57); J Hetherton for Boland (65);

Laois: E Rowland; L Cleere, M Whelan, J Phelan; J Kelly, R Mullaney, P Delaney; C Dwyer, P Purcell; E Lyons, M Kavanagh, A Dunphy; W Dunphy, J Lennon, R King. Subs: E Killeen for Delaney (54); C Dunphy for Kelly (58); S Bergin for King (63); E Gaughan for Kavanagh (70);

Referee: A Kelly (Galway).

Mike Quirke's Football Show: Tactical Mayo but never boring. How Cork changed tack. Tyrone always learning. Fixing the fouling carnage

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up