Looking to bounce back from a league defeat to Tipperary, Kilkenny headed to O’Moore Park to take on Laois in round 3 of this year’s Allianz Hurling League.
Billy Drennan started off proceedings for The Cats, adding one point to his league tally, which stood at 1-18 before the whistle blew. Kilkenny was up against the wind in the first half but had Laois immediately up against it as John Donnelly and Captain Eoin Cody added two more scores quickly
Stephen Maher grabbed the first point for the home side, with each team trading points after this to leave the score 0-04 0-02 after eight minutes. Martin Phelan created a great goal-scoring chance for himself with his pace allowing him the chance to get one passed Eoin Murphy, however, the final shot proved to be a bit tame. All in all, it was a well-worked Laois play, and they were rewarded by Stephen Maher getting another tick beside his name to but one point between the side, before Billy Ryan put it back to a two-point game.
Enda Rowland, much like his opposite Eoin Murphy, was called into action after ten minutes, with Martin Keoghan failing to put it in the back of the onion net. Rowland’s immediate puck out though allowed John Donnelley the opportunity to punish the point-scoring keeper, however, Donelley didn’t connect correctly. The Thomastown man did not allow his confidence to be dented and followed up the miss with a point. Thomas Keyes went the other way to add a point, however, this would be the last Laois score for a while. The O’Moore county did not score in the next 12 minutes and by that time there were five points put over by Kilkenny, with an eight-point gap between the teams.
We mentioned Enda Rowland as a Laois-scoring goalkeeper, but approaching halftime his Kilkenny counterpart showed why he plays outfield for his club by bursting over a free by himself. The match was getting out of sight by that point, with Derek Lyng’s men showing no mercy taking their points all the way up to the ref’s halftime whistle.
Half time: Kilkenny 0-21 Laois 0-07
Laois came out of the gates though, like a team on fire, Patrick Purcell did brilliantly to find Martin Phelan to leave Eoin Murphy with absolutely no chance at stopping the ball from going passed him. It was something they desperately needed, with a rollicking from Willie Maher at halftime no doubt getting his players up for the game. Each team traded scores before Kilkenny doubled up with Geroid Dunne and Padraig Walsh points. Laois almost had another goal for themselves, Murphy stranded again but the ball just whisked wide.
Laois were much better in the first 15 minutes, with 1-05 to 0-05 points, Enda Rowland even got himself his point. Kilkenny went through a seven-minute lull before Billy Drennan broke the duct from a free. To be fair to the home side, they were very game all throughout the second half, and Kilkenny kept their scoring ticking. It has been quite evident Derek Lyng has been working on the puck-outs, opting to change their style of play from the Tipperary game. The Cats were ringing in substitutions showcasing the talent and depth in the panel, with Cian Kenny, Walter Walsh, and Timmy Clifford all coming on.
The game to be honest kind of petered out, with no sign of the game swinging in the favour of Laois.
Full Time: Kilkenny 0-34 Laois 1-18