Joe McDonagh Cup
Courtesy of GAA.ie
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park
Kerry well beaten by Laois at home, and Carlow taking care of their own business against Offaly means it will be a Carlow versus Offaly rematch in the Joe McDonagh Cup in a fortnight. Kerry and Laois will reflect on a championship of what might have been.
Kerry and Laois both knew that to give themselves any hope of qualifying for the final they had to win this final game, and then hope that Offaly would continue their strong form and take care of Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park.
Kerry had trailed by just two points at half time, 1-12 to 0-13, with Stephen Maher’s 18th minute goal the difference in the main.
Padraig Boyle and Shane Conway (free) scored the first two points of the second half to tie the score, but thereafter Laois took over, with Maher leading the Leinster men, while his team mates lashed in three more goals to rescue a morale boosting win for William Maher’s team as their season comes to an end.
The first half was an odd 35 minutes of hurling, a championship game played with more than a flavour of a fixture with little on the line. There was, of course, everything on the line from Kerry’s point of view, but Laois were up for it too, and kept pace with the home team right through.
Kerry were leading 0-7 to 0-5 when James Keyes set Maher through on 18 minutes and the Ballycolla man cracked his shot past John B O’Halloran to give Laois the lead they held to the interval.
Shane Conway converted six frees for Kerry in the first half, with Jordan Conway and Boyle scoring two each from play, while Maher finished the half with 1-5.
Those two early second half points gave Kerry some hope of at least the win, but Stephen Bergin was pulled back for a Laois penalty, which goalkeeper Enda Rowland lashed past his opposite number, and thereafter Laois eased away.
They were comfortably ahead, 2-22 to 0-22, after the hour mark when Maher set up Patrick Purcell to crash a fine shot past O’Halloran, and Bergin raised a fourth green flag on 69 minutes, but it was all academic at that stage as regards McDonagh Cup final qualification.
Scorers for Laois: S Maher 1-12 (6fs, 1 ‘65’), E Rowland 1-2 (1-0 pen, 2fs), P Purcell 1-0, S Bergin 1-0, J Keyes 0-2, T Keyes 0-2, Ian Shanahan 0-1, J Kelly 0-1, P Delaney 0-1, A Corby 0-1, M Phelan 0-1.
Scorers for Kerry: S Conway 0-7 (7fs), J Conway 0-4, P Boyle 0-3, B Barrett 0-2, E Murphy 0-1, F Mackessy 0-1, P O’Connor 0-1, D Goggin 0-1, P Lucid 0-1.
Laois: Enda Rowland, Ian Shanahan, Liam O’Connell, Donnchadh Hartnett, Jack Kelly, Padraig Delaney, Fiachra C Fennell, Aidan Corby, Ross King, James Keyes, Stephen Maher, Patrick Purcell, Stephen Bergin, Martin Phelan, Tomás Keyes.
Subs: John Lennon for R King (temp, 20-25), John Lennon for R King (44), Gearoid Lynch for T Keyes (49), Ryan Mullaney for A Corby (57), James Duggan for J Keyes (60), Liam Senior for P Purcell (69).
Kerry: John B O’Halloran, Evan Murphy Eric Leen, Kyle O’Connor, Mikey Boyle, Fionán Mackessy, Jason Diggins, Eoin Ross, Michael Leane, Paudie O’Connor, Gavin Dooley, Jordan Conway, Brandon Barrett, Shane Conway, Padraig Boyle.
Subs: Colin Walsh for M Leane (29), Darragh Shanahan for S Walsh (temp, 34-FT), Dan Goggin for Gavin Dooley (ht), Philip Lucid for B Barrett (49), Morgan Madden for J Diggins (59), Ricky Heffernan for P Boyle (66)
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway).