Laois 3-16 Carlow 0-8: It was as smooth a win as you could wish for but Laois manager Tomás Ó Flatharta learned little about his team as they steamrollered Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park in this Leinster Championship opener on Saturday night.
The hosts had no answer to the O’Moores’ athleticism in particular but were second best in every department.
The game did allow Laois to work on their attacking patterns and while taking the quality of the opposition into account, there was a fluidity that was effective and pleasing to the eye.
“We’re into the second round of Leinster so we’re pleased with that” said Ó Flatharta. “We’ve had good preparation over the last five weeks or so since we took a break after the League.
“Things have worked very well for us, injuries had cleared up and we had everybody available to us today.
“We had prepared well and were quite confident going into the game. What we had to do was get our game-plan, what we had worked on in training going and I felt a lot of times that it worked.”
This was one of those can’t-win type games, where a one-sided victory is dismissed while a laboured one is pilloried. There was a sense of satisfaction amongst the Laois contingent though that they had done a professional job.
“Whatever opposition is against you, you have to prepare very well for it. You can do all the preparation you want but you have to go into the game with the right attitude as well. We did that.
“We had some good spells of football. We had a good start, we got four or five (six) points straight away which we wanted away from home. Carlow came into the game with a few points after that but we kept winning ball in the middle of the field. The forwards were moving well and the backs were defending wll. That was helped by the forwards doing a lot of tackling up at the other end of the field so it gave us time to set up at the back.”
Donie Kingston and Darren Strong nailed two points each as Laois kicked the first six scores but Daniel St Ledger’s excellently-struck free from 43m into a strong wind seemed to settle Carlow.
Kieran Nolan and Darragh Foley added to the tally but a 27th minute goal from Conor Boyle, after Niall Donoher had broken in behind the defence, halted the resistance.
O’Carroll (45) and Kingston (free) had points before the outstanding John O’Loughlin fired over his second with the left boot to make it 1-10 to 0-3 at half time.
Foley kicked an early free for Carlow but Laois swiftly removed any faint hope of a wind-assisted comeback with three quick points from the Kingston brothers, Donie and Paul, along with Ross Munnelly.
O’Loughlin and Brendan Quigley were magnificent at midfield and a brilliant catch by the former, began a move that ended with Donie Kingston drilling a 54th minute goal.
Laois might have had another three majors but substitute, Tom Shiel did shake the rigging one more time, finishing from a tight angle after a devastating burst of speed.
Kildare are next up on June 6.
“That’s going to be a derby,” said Ó Flatharta. “I’m not sure how long ago did Laois beat Kildare last (in the Championship)… so there’ll be a lot of interest in the game. Up to now we’ve been completely focussed on ourselves coming into this game. We have to do our work for the next game, focussing on ourselves, but we’ll also look at Kildare and see how they play and the challenges they bring. They beat us in the League by a point and that’s always on our mind, so we have to improve on our performance from that day.”
Scorers for Laois:
D Kingston 1-5(0-2fs); C Boyle 1-1; J O’Loughlin 0-3; T Shiel 1-0; R Munnelly, D Strong 0-2 each; P Kingston, C Begley, E O’Carroll(45) 0-1 each.
Subs for Laois:
T Shiel for P Kingston (52), B Sheehan for O’Carroll (57), C Meredith for Donoher (59), G Hanrahan for O’Connor (60), E Lowry for Munnelly (63), G Dillon for Begley (66).
Scorers for Carlow:
D St Ledger(1f, 1 45), D Foley(fs), A Kelly 0-2 each; K Nolan, D Hayden 0-1 each.
Subs for Carlow:
D Hayden for Fitzgerald (ht), D Roberts for Bambrick (48), E McCormack for O’Brien (56), J Kennedy for Moran (56), D Kelly for Molloy (56), D Moran for Nolan (68).
P Neilan (Roscommon)
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