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Two first-half Conor Whelan goals help All-Ireland champions Galway past brave Laois

Laois captain Ross King’s 0-12 wasn’t enough in O’Moore Park.

Galway sharpshooter Conor Whelan (file pic).
Galway sharpshooter Conor Whelan (file pic).
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Galway 2-18

Laois 0-17

TWO FIRST-HALF GOALS from Conor Whelan proved crucial as All-Ireland champions Galway did just enough to see off the brave challenge of Laois in O’Moore Park.

For the second week in-a-row Galway were sluggish and following on from last week’s unimpressive win over Antrim, they were put to the pin of their collar by Laois for long stages.

The home side, inspired by captain Ross King who hit 12 points, put in a fine display and could point to the controversial sending off of James Ryan just before half-time as a huge moment in the match.

Ryan picked up a second yellow in the same off-the-ball incident that saw Galway’s Greg Lally sent off – but he furiously protested his innocence amid claims of mistaken identity.

Whelan’s second goal moments later helped the visitors to a 2-6 to 0-10 half-time lead that they scarcely deserved.

Playing with the strong breeze, Laois had been very impressive prior to that with King in top form and Willie Dunphy also firing over two good points from play.

The second half continued in much the same style. A string of King frees had Laois level by the 45th minute but Galway had that greater scoring power that proved crucial and a run of scores from Conor Cooney, Joe Cooney, Padraig Mannion, Sean Linnane, Aidan Harte and Whelan was enough to help them maintain their winning start.

A two-week break now ensues for both sides with Galway keen to pick it up ahead of clashes with Wexford, Dublin and Offaly while Laois have Antrim, Offaly and Dublin still to come

Scorers for Laois: Ross King 0-12 (7f, 1 ’65), Willie Dunphy 0-2, Eric Killeen 0-1, Enda Rowland 0-1 (f), Mark Kavanagh 0-1.

Scorers for Galway: Conor Whelan 2-1, Aidan Harte 0-4, Conor Cooney 0-3 (2f), Padraig Mannion 0-3 (2f), Joe Cooney 0-3, Davey Glennon 0-1, Padraig Breheny 0-1, Sean Linnane 0-1, Johnny Coen 0-1.

Laois

1. Enda Rowland

2. Donncha Hartnett
3. Leigh Bergin
4. Lee Cleere

5. Podge Lawlor
6. Matthew Whelan
7. Eric Killeen

8. Paddy Purcell
9. James Ryan

10. Aidan Corby
11. Ben Conroy
12. Cian Taylor

13. Ross King
14. Neil Foyle
15. Willie Dunphy

Subs

James Keyes for Corby (half-time)
Sean Downey for Taylor (half-time)
Mark Kavanagh for Conroy (52 mins)
Paddy McCane for Foyle (56 mins)
Joe Phelan for Cleere (67 mins)

Galway

1. James Skehill

2. Adrian Tuohy
3. John Hanbury
4. Shane Bannon

5. Greg Lally
6. Padraig Mannion
7. Aidan Harte

8. Johnny Coen
9. Padraig Breheny

10. Sean Linnane
11. Joseph Cooney
12. Cathal Mannion

13. Conor Whelan
14. Conor Cooney
15. Davey Glennon.

Subs

Brian Concannon for C Mannion (50 mins)
Niall Burke for C Cooney (59 mins)
Shane Cooney for Linnane (60 mins)

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)

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Steven Miller

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