By Pat Delaney
LAOIS under -16 girls made the long journey to Danesfort in South Kilkenny on Sunday last at the same time the Laois intermediate team were throwing in in Dublin. This would be a difficult task at any time and hoping to get followers to support it hardly helps with a clash like this.
However, the hardy souls who journeyed to Kilkenny were well rewarded and they witnessed a rare Laois victory over Kilkenny.
How Kilkenny even competed at the same level as the O’Moores probably raised a few eyebrows but Laois management were quietly confident they could compete with their more illustrious neighbours. This Laois outfit had been well prepared with over 60 girls attending trial. How delighted Eddie Brennan would be if he could attract even half that number.
Out on the pitch however Laois got the worst possible start conceding an early goal and five minutes later a second goal for the home side. Then Laois struck back with a great move that yielded a goal from full forward Amy Flanagan and the locals knew they had a battle on their hands.
Kilkenny elected to play against the breeze and they only managed a single point for the remainder of the half. Laois grew in confidence picking off six good points and went to the break leading 1-6 to 2-1.
Kilkenny looked a little worried but three of their panel had picked up All-Ireland medals with Loreto School on Saturday and they were rested. But when they appeared for the second half Laois must have being concerned. They had only made one change Amy McCabe from O’Moores replacing Emma Delaney and she showed well in the early stages and struck a vital goal.
The Kilkenny changes did not work but thy kept in touch with points from placed balls. At the other end the Laois forwards were causing havoc. Lucy O’Connor and Eimear Hassett both found the net in the third quarter as the hosts tried desperately hard to halt the slide.
They did eventually find the net, hoever, then in a goal-mouth scramble Laois brought their tally to five, Ellen Conroy might have got the final touch.
Laois emptied their bench and it was nice to see Portarlington girl Aoidean McMahon make her debut along with Amy McCabe and Leah Daly.
Laois now travel to Louth for the next round. Dublin and Offaly are also in the Laois group but Kilkenny could still have a major say in the destination of honours.
The Laois management team is Letita Delaney (manager), Joe Conroy, Pat Gaughan, Martin O’Connor and Padraig Henderson.
LAOIS: Cara Henderson (Harps); Emma Jane Coss (St Brigid’s), Alannagh Brennan (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix) Tara Byrne (Portlaoise); Aileen O’Neill (Portlaoise), Jill Gaughan (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix), Susie Delaney (Portlaoise); Grainne Delaney (0-1 Camross), Ellen Conroy(1-1 O’Moores); Aoibhe Coss (St Brigids), Lucy O’Connor (0-3 Harps), Rachel Deegan (0-1 Harps); Eimear Hassett (1-4 St Brigid’s), Amy Flanagan (1-2 O’Moores), Emma Delaney (Harps).
Subs: Amy McCabe (1-0 O’Moores) for E Delaney (h/t), Leah Daly (Camross) for E Coss (36m), Aoidean McMahon (Portarlington) for O’Connor (52m)