Allianz HL Division 1B
Kerry 3-14 Laois 0-19
Kerry staged a staggering second-half comeback to make it three wins in two years over Laois in this crucial Allianz Hurling League 1B clash, played before a sparse attendance.
A Kerry victory looked unlikely at the break as they trailed by nine points but three second-half goals turned the tie on its head.
Laois travelled to Austin Stack Park, Tralee with new manager and former Kerry hurling manager Eamonn Kelly back on familiar territory.
They played with the aid of a strong wind in the first-half and led at the interval by 0-13 to 0-4 thanks to four points from play by corner-forward Willie Dunphy.
Kerry’s first and only score from play came from Shane Nolan in the 29th minute and they were in trouble in most sectors with Stephen Maher punishing them from placed balls.
The second-half was a different story however. Kerry dominated the middle third and looked much the hungrier side.
Their half-back-line of Paud Costello, Patrick Kelly and Darren Dineen really upped their game while Mikey Boyle started plucking balls out of the air. Kerry had missed five scoreable frees in the opening half but once Shane Nolan found his radar, Laois appeared to lose their way.
Padraig Boyle scored Kerry’s first goal from a penalty in the 38th minute and he added another in the 59th minute from play. That was quickly followed in the 60th minute by a third Kerry goal from midfielder Colum Harty to make the scores level on a scoreline of 3-9 to 0-18.
Kerry finished much the stronger and sealed the win with a late Paudie O’Connor point to give them a welcome winning start to the League, much to the delight of new Kerry manager Fintan O’Connor.
“What we’re looking for is quality and I saw Tipperary manager Michael Ryan saying last night at this time of year you won’t see a lot of quality but what we’re looking for is a lot of honesty and endeavour. It was really cold out there but you want the lads to have the right attitude.
"I thought we did better on the breaks in the second-half and we were just a little bit sharper. We’re delighted with the win and to get the two points and we know we have some tough challenges ahead.”
Kelly was disappointed having looked set for victory at the interval. “We are disappointed but the better team won on the day. We did not score enough from play but we are a young side and some of Kerry’s more experienced players shone in the second-half. We will just have to regroup for the challenges ahead.”
Scorers for Kerry:
P Boyle (2-1, 1-0 pen); S Nolan (0-6, 5 frees); C Harty (1-2); M Boyle and D Collins (0-2 each); P O’Connor (0-1)
Scorers for Laois:
S Maher (0-11 frees); W Dunphy (0-4); P Whelan, B Conroy, N Foyle and P J Scully (0-1 each).
A McCabe; S Weir, R Horgan, B Murphy; P Costello, P Kelly, D Dineen; P O’Connor , C Harty ; J Goulding, M Boyle , D Collins ; J Conway, P Boyle , S Nolan.
K Carmody for J Conway (53), J O’Connor for J Goulding (72)
E Fleming: D Palmer, R Mullaney, P Lawlor; L Bergin, M Whelan, P Whelan; P Purcell, Ben Conroy; C Taylor, N Foyle , R King; W Dunphy, C Dwyer, S Maher
PJ Scully for C Taylor (57), E Lyons for P Whelan (60), S Downey for R Mullaney (63), C Healy for N Foyle (66)
J Murphy ( Limerick).
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