By Denis J. Croke
LAOIS could hardly have wished for a better opening to their All-Ireland campaign when comprehensively seeing off the Sligo challenge. The foundation for the win was firmly set in the opening half when Laois struck for three goals.
Laois would have gone into the game as favourites but the horrendous condition in a stormy and rain drenched Kiltoom in Co. Roscommon would not have made playing easy for either set of players. In fact it is a credit to both teams that they served up quite an entertaining game.
The Laois manager Donie Brennan has his side well tuned. They hassled and harried the opposition constantly forcing them into errors. They never stop running and challenging and when in attack moved the ball sweetly.
Brennan had to make a pre-match reshuffle bringing in Mags McEvoy to replace Fiona Dooley. The reshuffle saw Fitzgerald start at midfield despite wearing number 15. But this did not upset the Laois mindset as they went on to lead from start to finish and were never really threatened by Sligo.
By half time they had raced into a nine point lead and by the time referee Mel Kenny blew the final whistle they had a convincing 16 point advantage that will boost confidence going into next Sunday’s game against Clare.
Laois: Mo Nerney (frees) and Orla Hennessy 0-3 each, Emma Lawlor, Sarah Anne Fitzgerald, Laura Nerney, Andrea Moran and Rachel Fitzgerald 1-0 each, Leah Tarpey 0-2
Sligo: Lauren Boles 1-1, Rachel O’Brien 0-2 (frees), Sinead Regan 0-1
LAOIS: Eimear Barry (Shanahoe); Clodagh Dunne (Ballyroan), Jenny McEvoy (Sarsfields), Amy Potts (St Brigid’s); Rachel Williams (Sarsfields), Mags McEvoy (Sarsfields), Laura Nerney (Foxrock-Cabinteely); Jane Moore (St Brigid’s), Ellen Healy (Portlaoise); Anna Healy (Park-Ratheniska), Mo Nerney (Timahoe), Orla Hennessy (Timahoe); Emma Lawlor (St Paul’s), Andrea Moran (Ballyroan), Sarah Anne Fitzgerald (Portlaoise).
Subs: Leah Tarpey (Sarsfields) for M McEvoy (h/t), Claire Conlon (Sarsfields) for Moran (51m), Rachel Fitzgerald (Ballyroan) for SA Fitzgerald (53m), Sarah Larkin (Timahoe) for E Healy (58m)
SLIGO: Laura Muldoon; Aoife Morris-Roe, Michelle McNamara, Aoife Gilroy; Ciara Gilroy, Claire Dunne, Jade Lyons; Nicola Brennan, Louise Lindsay; Elise Codd, Karen Moloney, Aishling Molloy; Leah Kelly, Lauren Boles, Rachel O’Brien.
Subs: Ruth Godwin for Maloney (28m), Jackie Mulligan for Brennan (29m), Sarah Cunny for Lindsay (44m), Sinead Regan for Kelly (48m), Leonie Gaughan for O’Brien (59m)
Referee: Mel Kenny (Mayo)
See full report in today’s Laois Nationalist, available from your newagent