Niland the star but Laois make Galway minors sweat

Galway had just that bit too much for a spirited home side
Niland the star but Laois make Galway minors sweat

Galway forward Aaron Niland

All-Ireland MHC: Galway 0-23 Laois 2-14 

Aaron Niland hit 0-12 as Galway booked their place in the All Ireland minor hurling championship semi-finals thanks to a hard-earned win over Laois in O’Moore Park.

Galway had been comfortable winners over beaten Munster finalists Clare last weekend with Niland hitting 0-16.

And he was their chief scorer once again as they had just that bit much for a spirited home side coming off the back of a Leinster final loss to Offaly two weeks ago.

In a three-team round robin format, Laois will now face Clare in Ennis next Saturday with the winners going forward to the last four.

The brilliant Jer Quinlan fired to the net early on to give Laois the lead but Galway battled back well and though Ben Deegan kept the scoreboard moving for Laois, scores from Paddy McCarthy, Conor Lawless and Niland nudged Galway ahead.

Deegan and Niland traded frees again before Cullen Killeen regained the advantage for Galway as we entered the final five minutes of the half.

Deegan and Thomas Brennan scored for Laois before half time but so too did Rory Burke and Cullen Killeen to take 0-12 to 1-8 lead at half time.

Paddy McCarthy and Jer Quinlan swapped points when play resumed before Niland struck his seventh of the game to give Galway a two-point lead in the 37th minute.

Galway remained ahead throughout the second half but Laois refused to give up and Jer Quinlan scored two points to bring them back into the game.

Galway looked to pull away then with a flurry of scores but as we entered four minutes of injury time, the gap was back to three when Mark Downey got Laois’s second goal.

Laois had two late chances to snatch a draw but Bobby Murphy's effort was blocked out for a 65 and Galway held on.

SCORERS - Galway: A Niland 0-12 (6f, 1 ‘65), C Killeen 0-3, R Burke 0-3, P McCarthy 0-2, C Lawless 0-2, C Dolphin 0-1 

Laois: J Quinlan 1-5, B Deegan 0-7 (5f, 2 ‘65s), Mark Downey 1-0, J Breen 0-1, T Brennan 0-1 

GALWAY: D Fahy; L McInerney, S Murphy, D Coinihan; B O'Donovan, O O'Gorman, J Wallace; C Killeen, P McCarthy; O Burke, R Burke, C Lawless; R O'Donnell, A Niland, C Dolphin 

Subs: C Trayers for Burke (44), J Lonergan for O'Donovan (48), C Gilligan for Dolphin (54), J O'Malley for McCarthy (59), S Keane for Lawless (61) 

LAOIS: B O’Reilly; B Murphy, C Flynn, J Pearson; T Brennan, T Cuddy, C Hogan; R Kelly, K Byrne; B Deegan, E Murphy, J Breen; E Cuddy, J Quinlan, C Byrne. 

Subs: M Downey for C Byrne (46), A Carroll for Breen (49), A McDonagh for Murphy (52), C Coss for Kelly (55), K Hyland for Deegan (56) 

Referee: T Gleeson (Dublin)

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