By Denis J. Croke
Manager Seamus Plunkett is still awaiting a win in his second term as Laois manager. The final score will be bitterly disappointing for ‘Cheddar’ after his side had put it up to Clare in the opening half in MW Hire O’Moore Park this afternoon.
Laois played some of their best hurling of this year’s league during the opening period and were still right in touch at the half time. At the break Clare held a 1-7 to 0-5 lead, the goal coming from Shane O’Donnell after ten minutes.
Clare were leading by four points to two at that stage, PJ Scully and James Ryan on target for Laois. Despite Clare rattling off another couple of points Laois kept plugging away. The gap had been reduced to a couple of points and might have been a lot closer at the break had Scully not uncharacteristically missed a couple of frees and with Clare adding two late points they held a five point lead at the break.
In the lead up to the half time break the weather deteriorated badly. A flash of lightening and a clap of thunder led the way for a solid downpour which carried into the start of the second half.
But Laois cannot blame the weather for how the new half unfolded. The fact was Clare were far the better side as they picked off scores with ease and were largely unchallenged. Mark Rogers struck for their second goal while a series of points saw them lead by 12 points approaching the second half water break.
Even when Ross King batted Fiachra C-Fennell’s delivery to the Clare net there was still no way back for Laois.
In the end both sets of players raced from the pitch to the comfort of the dressing rooms but there would not have been much comfort for the Laois lads who must take on Kilkenny in two weeks time
Clare: Aidan McCarthy 0-13 (0-12fs), Mark Rodgers 1-2, Cathal Malone 0-4, Shane O’Donnell 1-1, Ian Galvin and Diarmuid Ryan 0-2 each, John Conlon, Jason McCarthy and David Fitzgerald 0-1 each
Laois: PJ Scully 0-10 (0-8fs, 0-1 ’65), Ross King 1-2, Paddy Purcell 0-2, James Ryan, Colm Stapleton and Jack Kelly 0-1 each
CLARE: Eibhear Quilligan; Rory Hayes, Conor Cleary, Aaron Fitzgerald; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, Jack Browne; Cathal Malone, Jason McCarthy; Shane O’Donnell, David Reidy, Shane Golden; Aaron Shanagher, Ian Galvin, Aidan McCarthy.
Subs: Mark Rodgers for Golden (h/t), David Fitzgerald for McCarthy (45m), Colm Galvin for Reidy (55m), Domhnall McMahon for I Galvin (63m), Cian Nolan for Ryan (63m), Darragh Lohan for O’Donnell (67m), Gary Cooney for Conlon (67m)
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Diarmuid Conway, Sean Downey, Donnchadh Hartnett; Jack Kelly, Colm Stapleton, Conor Phelan; Fiachra C-Fennell, Paddy Purcell; James Ryan, PJ Scully, Ciaran Collier; Eoin Gaughan, Ross King, Matthew Whelan.
Subs: Ciaran Comerford for Gaughan (47m), James Keyes for Purcell (47m), Ciaran McEvoy for Whelan (61m), Lee Cleere for Phelan (61m), Aaron Dunphy for Conway (63m), Stephen Bergin for Collier (71m)
Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)
Full report, interview and comment in Tuesday’s Laois Nationalist