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Eoin Cody stars as Kilkenny blow away Laois

Kilkenny stormed past Laois today in the second game of the Leinster round robin series.

Image: Ashley Cahill/INPHO

Kilkenny 2-34

Laois 1-14

Kevin Egan reports UPMC Nowlan Park 

IF ANYTHING, 23 points didn’t even reflect the scale of Kilkenny’s dominance at UPMC Nowlan Park this evening, as they put Laois to the sword with an overwhelming attacking display that was too much for the midlanders to handle in this second round Leinster championship match.

Add in 17 wides and any number of missed goal chances, and the Cats could have beaten Laois by as much as they wanted here.

Four of the last six points came from Laois players, who spent most of the game struggling and failing to compete in the physical exchanges.

Cheddar Plunkett deployed Fiachra C Fennell as a sweeper and while this helped to some degree, Kilkenny quickly settled into a pattern of picking off points from distance.

billy-ryan-with-donnchadh-hartnett Source: Ashley Cahill/INPHO

 The home side played with the wind in the first half and shot 12 of their wides in that period, but James Maher and Adrian Mullen at midfield, as well as their half-forward line of Pádraig Walsh, John Donnelly and Walter Walsh, all filled their boots.

Laois playing seven at the back also meant that their forwards were consistently outnumbered, but there was more to this than a numbers game, as Kilkenny proved utterly dominant in the tackle, forcing turnover after turnover in the middle third.

Laois had been living dangerously when it came to protecting their own goal, with two crucial interventions from Donnchadh Hartnett and a superb save from Enda Rowland keeping the green flag rooted in the turf, but even that run of good luck broke on the half-hour mark. 

A simple long ball into a two v two situation on the edge of the square broke kindly for Eoin Cody, and the Ballyhale man wasn’t about to waste what was his third goal chance of the half.

It was as if Laois knew their fate was sealed at that stage, and Kilkenny quickly fired over six more points before the break to make it 1-20 to 0-6, and effectively game over before it even warmed up.

Perhaps due to the wind, perhaps due to a sense of the job already being done on the Kilkenny side, Laois enjoyed a lot more possession and shooting chances in the second half, though they too struggled to convert those chances into scores, posting ten wides of their own in the second half.

PJ Scully knocked over a couple of early frees but the tactic of shooting from distance didn’t serve them well, and while the scoring rate at the other end of the field wasn’t quite as prolific, still the lead continued to grow.

A trademark run and finish from Paddy Purcell early in the final quarter stemmed the bleeding somewhat, while there was a late run of scores, featuring white flags raised by Ciarán McEvoy, Ryan Mullaney and Ciarán Byrne.

At the other end substitute Tom Phelan enhanced his case for inclusion in the tougher tests ahead when he whipped in a goal, adding to an early point, but even as he did so, home and away supporters alike were looking to beat the traffic on the way home, having seen all they needed to see between two teams that are in very different places after two rounds of championship hurling.

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid 0-10 (0-7f), Eoin Cody 1-5, Adrian Mullen 0-6, Tom Phelan 1-1, Pádraig Walsh 0-4, Walter Walsh 0-4, John Donnelly 0-2, James Maher 0-2.

Scorers for Laois: Paddy Purcell 1-2, PJ Scully 0-4f, Cha Dwyer 0-3, James Keyes, Aidan Corby, Ryan Mullaney, Ciarán McEvoy, Ciarán Byrne 0-1 each.

Kilkenny:

1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)

6. Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels)

3. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels)

4. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan)

5. Mikey Carey (Young Irelands)

7. Conor Browne (James Stephens)

2. Mikey Butler (O’Loughlin Gaels)

8. James Maher (St. Lachtain’s)

9. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

10. Walter Walsh (Tullogher-Rosbercon)

11. Pádraig Walsh (Tullaroan)

12. John Donnelly (Thomastown)

13. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan)

14. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

15. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

 Subs: Shane Walsh (Tullaroan) for Ryan (half-time), Tom Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks) for Donnelly (46), Richie Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks) for Deegan (49), Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own) for Lawlor (56), Darragh Corcoran (Ballyhale Shamrocks) for T Walsh (62).

 Laois:

1. Enda Rowland (St. Lazerian’s, Abbeyleix)

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3. Seán Downey (Ballinakill)

7. Ciarán McEvoy (Portlaoise)

2. Donnchadh Hartnett (Rosenallis)

4. Fiachra C Fennell (Rosenallis)

9. Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill)

6. Liam O’Connell  (Rathdowney-Errill)

5. Ryan Mullaney (Castletown)

 11. Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill)

8. Aidan Corby (Clough Ballacolla)

10. Charles Dwyer (Ballinakill)

13. Mark Dowling (Camross)

14. Jordan Walsh (Clough Ballacolla)

12. James Keyes (Colt-Shanahoe)

15. PJ Scully (Borris-Kilcotton)

 Subs: Ciaran Byrne (St. Lazerian’s, Abbeyleix) for Walsh (44), Eric Killeen (Rathdowney-Errill) for Corby (50), Brandon McGinley (Rathdowney-Errill) for Dowling (57), John Maher (Rosenallis) for Scully (69), Pádraic Dunne (The Harps) for O’Connell (69).

 Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)

About the author:

Kevin Egan

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