Quinlan excelled for Laois scoring an early goal. Evan Treacy/INPHO

Quinlan shines but Niland's dozen helps Galway overcome Laois in thrilling quarter-final

Jer Quinlan excelled for the beaten Leinster finalists but they fell short of the Connacht side.

Galway 0-23 Laois 2-14

GALWAY PROVED TOO strong for Laois today in the All-Ireland minor hurling championship quarter final.

Laois got off to a great start, Jer Quinlan’s fifth minute goal helping them on their way to a four-point lead at one stage of the first half before Galway rallied.

Key to the Tribesmen’s success was full-forward, Aaron Niland, who scored the opening point of the day after seizing possession off the throw-in. Jack Breen replied immediately for the beaten Leinster finalists.

Another Niland point suggested this could be straightforward but no – Laois burst into life and after Ben Deegan got a fine point from a 65, they struck for a goal, courtesy of Quinlan who took a superb catch on the edge of the square and turned to shoot to the net.

When Deegan scored another 65, four points separated the teams. But that was when Galway came to life. Conor Dolphin, Niland (three), Paddy MacCárthaigh and Conor Lawless all scored – Deegan the sole replier for Laois in this period.

By half-time Galway led by a point – 0-12 to 1-8 – at half-time, and throughout the second half Quinlan kept the scoreboard ticking over for Laois, helped by Thomas Brennan and Deegan.

Galway stayed in front, though.

Niland – who scored 12 points over the course of the afternoon – helped push their lead to four with 20 minutes remaining and while Quinlan showed his enormous potential with a superb couple of points to narrow the gap to two, Galway retained their composure.

Niland’s frees, combined with points from Conor Lawless and Cullen Killeen and captain Rory Burke eventually put them six clear.

Sub, Mark Downey, scored late on for Laois but the clock beat them, Galway surviving to win by three.

Laois scorers: Ben Deegan 0-7 (0-5 frees, 0-2 65′), Jer Quinlan 1-4, Mark Downey 1-0, Jack Breen 0-1, Thomas Brennan 0-1, Eoghan Murphy 0-1

Galway scorers: Aaron Niland 0-12 (0-6 frees, 0-1 65′), Cullen Killeen 0-3, Conor Dolphin 0-1, Paddy MacCárthaigh 0-2, Rory Burke 0-3, Conor Lawless 0-2

Laois: Brochan O’Reilly (Portlaoise); Bobby Murphy (The Harps), Ciarán Flynn (The Harps), Joe Pearson (Clough-Ballacolla); Thomas Brennan (Clough-Ballacolla), Tom Cuddy (Camross), Cormac Hogan (Clough-Ballacolla); Rory Kelly (Castletown), Kevin Byrne (Camross); Ben Deegan (Camross), Eoghan Murphy (The Harps), Jack Breen (Castletown); Eoghan Cuddy (C) (Camross), Jer Quinlan (Borris-Kilcotton), Cormac Byrne (Abbeyleix). Subs: Mark Downey (The Harps) for Byrne (45 mins), Aaron Carroll (Camross) for Breen (48 mins), Andrew McDonagh (Ballinakill) for Murphy (52 mins), Ciaran Coss (Borris-Kilcotton) for Kelly (55 mins), Kevin Hyland (Clough-Ballacolla) for Deegan (56 mins)

Galway: Donagh Fahy; Luke McInerney, Seán Murphy, Darragh Counihan; Ben O’Donovan, Oscar O’Gorman, Cullen Killeen; Joey Wallace, Paddy MacCárthaigh; Orin Burke, Rory Burke (C), Conor Lawless; Ryan O’Donnell, Aaron Niland, Conor Dolphin. Subs: Cillian Travers for Burke (44 mins), Jack Lonergan for O’Donovan (47 mins), Conor Gilligan for Dolphin (53 mins), Jack O’Malley for MacCárthaigh (58 mins), Stephen Keane for Lawless (60 mins)

REFEREE: Thomas Gleeson (Dublin)

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