WALSH CUP ROUND 3
DUBLIN 1-18 LAOIS 1-16
Dublin battled to victory in Sunday’s Walsh Cup clash at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise to progress to the semi-finals.
Mattie Kenny’s men will face Galway next weekend after scoring six of the last eight scores of this well-contested duel to book their place in the last-four.
Laois led 1-14 to 1-12 after 13 minutes of the second-half before Dublin came alive again with John Hetherton and subs Fergal Whitely and Oisin O’Rorke on target to seal victory.
The sides were level 1-8 each at the break after both sides had enjoyed sustained periods of dominance.
“The Walsh Cup is a pre-season tournament. So we’re taking it as that and we’re working it towards the league and January 26 (NHL opener versus Carlow),” said Dublin manager Mattie Kenny.
“We want to use the Walsh Cup games to look at as many players as possible and get a bit of hurling into everyone.
“This week is our first week back in the new year. We had a heavy training week and today’s game was part of that training week.
“I know it was a pre-season game but there’s still a bit of competitive edge to it. You still want to get your nose ahead at the finish,” added Mattie.
Dublin began well and had an early goal chance but Eamonn Dillon was denied by Laois keeper Enda Rowland.
Dublin did create several goal opportunities in the opening half but were thwarted by the home defence in several occasions with keeper Rowland and Joe Phelan to the fore.
John Hetherton opened Dublin’s account in the second minute with a 65-metre free before Mark Kavanagh levelled it for the O’Moore County.
Dublin’s goal came in the fourth minute when Dillon fired to the net following good work by Hetherton.
Points from Cian Boland and Dillon extended Dublin’s lead to 1-3 to 0-1 by the sixth minute.
The Dubs continued to hold the upperhand and led 1-6 to 0-3 by the 15th minute following scores by Hetherton, two frees following fouls on Donal Burke and Boland, and a point from play by Boland.
Dublin also had another goal chance by corner-back Phelan got in to foil Dillon following good work by Fintan McGibb.
However, the home side then turned the game around and hit 1-5 without reply to move 1-8 to 1-6 clear with half-time approaching.
Aaron Dunphy got the Laois goal in the 24th minute after Mark Kavanagh had opened up the Dublin defence before offloading to Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher who then placed Dunphy for the finish.
Chief freetaker PJ Scully also converted three points from placed balls while keeper Rowland struck over a monster free.
Dublin responded well before the interval with Hetherton hitting two points in quick succession to bring the sides level.
SCORERS – Dublin: J Hetherton 0-7 (0-4f), E Dillon 1-1, C Boland, J Malone, F Whitely, O O’Rorke 0-2 each, S Moran (0-1f), C Crummey 0-1 each. Laois: PJ Scully 0-7 (0-4f), A Dunphy 1-3, M Kavanagh (0-1f), E Rowland (0-2f) 0-2 each, E Lyons, S Maher 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; D Gray, E O’Donnell, J Madden; S Barrett, S Moran, T Connolly; R McBride, J Malone; F McGibb, J Hetherton, C Boland; E Dillon, L Rushe, D Burke. Subs: L Gannon for Barrett (inj, 16), F Whitely for Boland (inj, 30), C Crummey for Connolly (ht), O O’Rorke for D Burke (43), D Keogh for O’Donnell (48), G Whelan for McBride (50), C Conway for Rushe (53), C Burke for Dillon (62).
LAOIS: E Rowland; P Delaney, M Whelan, J Phelan; J Kelly, R Mullaney, E Killeen; D Hartnett, P Purcell; A Dunphy, E Lyons, S Maher; M Kavanagh, PJ Scully, E Gaughan. Subs: S Downey for Gaughan (51), C Phelan for Kavanagh (58), J Cranney for Killeen (69), N Foyle for Lyons (70).
REF: M Murtagh (Westmeath).