Limerick hurlers forced to battle hard against Laois

Limerick 1-25 Laois 1-19
Limerick bounced back from the disappointment of defeat by Offaly, and a fifth successive unsuccessful promotion push, with this workmanlike victory over Laois.

Although Seamus Plunkett’s side were 7/1 outsiders coming to Kilmallock, they made TJ Ryan’s side work all the way to the final whistle for this six-point AHL Division 1B victory.

Next up for Limerick is a quarter-final with Dublin, while Laois face Antrim in a relegation play-off.

“1-25 was definitely a good score and the second-half was much better when we used the ball better and got some good scores and created some good goal-scoring opportunities which was pleasing,” said Limerick manager TJ Ryan.

“That was a good run out for the boys and I am pleased with the performance. It was a home game for us and after the disappointment of last week we wanted to win this and I thought it was a good performance. The show rolls on to next weekend now.”

This game was turned on its head with five successive points from Limerick on the change of ends. Laois deservedly led 1-9 to 0-10 at half time but Limerick stormed into the game in the second-half and dominated.

Laois got off to the ideal start when Zane Keenan goaled from a penalty in just the second minute. It set them on their way to a 1-6 to 0-4 lead after 18 minutes.

Charles Dwyer had two of those early scores, while Willie Hyland brilliantly converted a line ball.

Bit by bit, Limerick found their feet. After 20 minutes, Sean Tobin opened their account from play but by half-time their deficit was only two points with David Reidy and Declan Hannon also landing scores for the home side.

Frees from Keenan and a point from Ben Conroy ensured the interval lead for Laois. But within seven minutes of the restart Limerick were 0-15 to 1-9 ahead with Tobin and Thomas O’Brien hitting two points each.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Patrick Whelan and John Purcell steadied the Laois ship, but Limerick maintained the lead with points from Tobin, Reidy and David Breen.

Limerick could very well have stretched the lead but Tobin and Reidy saw goal chances go a-begging.

But they did find the net in the 58th minute when Thomas O’Brien blasted home after making space for himself on the left wing.

All of a sudden Limerick were 1-21 to 1-13 clear with 10 minutes to play.

PJ Scully led the late Laois charge, but two points from play by Tobin eased Limerick towards the final whistle.

Subs Tom Morrissey and Cian Lynch added their names to the scoresheet and Laois were kept at arms length and denied the goal they needed. They had points from Scully and Joe Campion but Limerick held on to finish as runners-up to Waterford in Division 1B.

Scorers for Limerick: S Tobin 0-12 (0-7f); T O’Brien 1-3 (0-1 sl), D Reidy, D Hannon (0-1 ‘65) 0-3 each, A Murphy (0-1f), D Breen, T Morrissey, C Lynch 0-1 each.

Scorers for Laois: Z Keenan 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), PJ Scully 0-5 (0-3f), C Dwyer, J Campion 0-2 each, T Fitzgerald, W Hyland (lineball), B Conroy, J Fitzpatrick, P Whelan, J Purcell, D Palmer 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: A Murphy; S Walsh, R McCarthy, S O’Brien; C King, D Hannon, C Allis; J Ryan, P Browne; D Reidy, D Breen, D O’Grady; T O’Brien, P Begley, S Tobin.

Subs: J Fitzgibbon for O’Grady (43), T Morrissey for Begley (49), D Morrissey for Allis (55), A Breen for D Breen (56), C Lynch for Ryan (61).

LAOIS: E Reilly; J A Delaney, C Healy, C Dunne; J Fitzpatrick, J Walsh, T Delaney; Z Keenan, P Purcell; W Hyland, P Whelan, C Dwyer; B Conroy, T Fitzgerald, PJ Scully.

Subs: D Peacock for Fitzgerald (h-t), D Palmer for J Delaney (h-t), J Purcell for Dwyer (43), J Campion for Hyland (52), B Reddin for Keenan (55).

Referee: P O’Dwyer (Calow).


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