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Waterford survive big scare against Laois to advance in hurling qualifiers

The Deise emerged five points winners at Nowlan Park.

Waterford's Patrick Curran and Ross King of Laois.
Waterford's Patrick Curran and Ross King of Laois.
Image: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Laois 2-21

Waterford 3-23

Kevin Egan reports from Nowlan Park

QUESTIONS STILL UNANSWERED for Waterford, dreams still unfulfilled for Laois – nobody walked out UPMC Nowlan Park happy this afternoon, except perhaps the ice-cream sellers who did a roaring trade.

At least for Waterford the prospect of redemption in a week’s time is a live one. They’ll go in the pot for the second round qualifier draw on Monday, to be paired up with either Cork or Galway. On this showing, they’ve a lot of improvement to find to test either of those.

For Laois, the story is all too familiar. In 2020, they came to Kilkenny for a qualifier against a Munster opponent (Clare) and lost by a single point, and today they were just as close. The five-point margin was deceptive, as Waterford needed late goals from Patrick Curran and Stephen Bennett to prevail.

The first half offered no evidence that a finish like this was coming. Waterford had 12 different scorers as they moved 1-16 to 0-11 clear at half time, their goal coming from Kevin Moran. There was a slice of luck attached as his shot took a massive deflection off Donnchadh Hartnett before spinning away from Enda Rowland and bouncing into the net, but that wasn’t the only chance for goal the Déise had. Hartnett did brilliantly to block another chance for Stephen Bennett from close range, Neil Montgomery fizzed one over the crossbar from 15 metres out, and overall Waterford offered more threat.

Even in the five minutes after half time, it looked like simple stuff for the strong pre-match favourites. Waterford’s radar was off, as they made a start on their second half tally of 11 wides, but Laois still found it hard to win good possession close to goal. Then Purcell burst past his man to place the sliothar into the bottom corner of the Waterford net after 41 minutes, and instead of Waterford reacting to the setback, Laois were roused further.

PJ Scully continued to find the posts with every dead ball chance, including a tight angle sideline, and their supporters really exploded once Ciarán Comerford found the net with the last puck before the water break, capitalising from close range after Charles Dwyer made the high catch and layoff.

patrick-curran-scores-a-goal Patrick Curran scores his goal. Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

Again, it took time for Waterford to respond and Laois still led up into the 63rd minute, when Austin Gleeson rose highest to claim a long clearance and once he found Patrick Curran, the Dungarvan man was left with a simple finish.

PJ Scully pointed another free to cut the gap to a point and while Waterford now were visibly stronger and fitter, the wides kept coming, so it wasn’t until Stephen Bennett found the net from a tight angle deep into stoppage time that their ticket to the next round was stamped.

Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully 0-10 (0-9f, 0-1 sideline), Paddy Purcell 1-4, Ciarán Comerford 1-0, Charles Dwyer 0-2, Ciarán Collier, Podge Delaney, James Keyes, Enda Rowland (f), Aaron Dunphy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 1-8 (0-7f, 0-1 65), Patrick Curran 1-2, Kevin Moran 1-1, Dessie Hutchinson 0-3, Calum Lyons & Austin Gleeson 0-2 each, Jack Prendergast, Jack Fagan, Iarlaith Daly, Neil Montgomery, Darragh Lyons 0-1 each.

Laois 

1. Enda Rowland

4. Donnchadh Hartnett 3. Sean Downey 8. Fiachra Fennell 

5. Podge Delaney 6. Ciarán McEvoy 19. Stephen Maher 

20. James Keyes 9. Jack Kelly 

12. Ciarán Collier 14. Willie Dunphy 10. Paddy Purcell 

11. Charles Dwyer 15. Ross King 13. PJ Scully 

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Subs:  Ciarán Comerford for Dunphy (33), James Ryan for Maher (35), Aaron Dunphy for Purcell (41, temp),  Aaron Dunphy for King (56), John Lennon for McEvoy (63), Matthew Whelan for Keyes (70+1)

Waterford 

1 Shaun O’Brien 

4 Ian Kenny 3 Conor Prunty 2 Conor Gleeson 

5 Calum Lyons 6 Iarlaith Daly 14 Shane Bennett 

9 Neil Montgomery 15 Patrick Curran 

10 Jack Fagan 11 Jack Prendergast 7 Kevin Moran 

13 Dessie Hutchinson 8 Austin Gleeson 12 Stephen Bennett

Subs: Darragh Lyons for Montgomery (30), Michael Kiely for Moran (48), Peter Hogan for Fagan (51), Jamie Barron for Prendergast (58), Shane McNulty for Shane Bennett (60)           

Referee:  Liam Gordon (Galway)

About the author:

Kevin Egan

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