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Laois battle bravely with 14 men but Forde's 1-12 helps Tipperary book All-Ireland semi-final

Liam Sheedy’s side will take on Wexford in the last four.

Tipperary 2-25

Laois 1-18

LAOIS’S MAGNIFICENT SUMMER of hurling has finally come to an end.

Seamus Callanan with Jack Kelly and Ryan Mullaney Seamus Callanan bears down on goal with Jack Kelly and Ryan Mullaney behind him. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

On their third successive weekend in action and after playing with 14 men for the majority of the second-half, Eddie Brennan’s side battled gamely but couldn’t live with the firepower of Tipperary’s attack.

There was no hammering here like many had feared would end their season on a sour note. They came well inside the 15 handicap set by the bookmakers beforehand. After last week’s win over Dublin and today’s performance, the O’Moore County look well-primed to compete in Leinster next season.

Ultimately, the 39th-minute dismissal of Aaron Dunphy, for a strike on Padraic Maher, derailed their chances.

They had rallied brilliantly with Ross King’s goal part of the 1-3 they hit shortly before half-time which left them just three points behind. Tipperary always looked like winning, but Dunphy’s dismissal robbed Laois of their sweeper and any protection in front of their full-back line. 

Ronan Maher and Eanna Lyons Ronan Maher and Eanna Lyons clash. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The Premier ran up the score in the closing stages yet Liam Sheedy will be well aware that significant improvement will be required for the All-Ireland semi-final clash with Wexford in two weeks’ time. 

Their discipline is one issue that must be rectified.  Tipperary finished with 14 men themselves after Michael Breen – a 48th-minute arrival off the bench – was sent off for a second yellow card at the death. They conceded 14 frees, 11 of which were converted by Laois forward Mark Kavanagh.

Worryingly for Tipp, outside of Jason Forde (1-12) and Seamus Callanan (1-2), the rest of their starting forwards contributed 0-1 between them. 

Brennan set-up with John Lennon as a seventh defender and they were happy to allow Brian Hogan go short with his puck-outs to Tipp’s spare man James Barry. 

Laois started where they’d left off against Dublin. Four scores inside the opening ten minutes left them 0-4 to 0-2 ahead in the early stages. Callanan pulled back his first score of the day and then Forde was hauled down for a penalty that he dispatched himself. 

Five minutes later, the Premier had their second goal. Callanan was sent through on goal after an exquisite pass from Noel McGrath and the Drom-Inch ace made no mistake from close range. By the 27th minute, Tipp were eight clear and it appeared as though Sheedy’s side were primed to open up, but Laois fought back. 

Ronan Maher with Mark Kavanagh Ronan Maher and Mark Kavanagh compete for a high ball. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Aaron Dunphy pulled back a point after a wonderful crossfield ball from a sideline cut by man-of-the-match Jack Kelly, who also dispatched two fine scores from play. That seemed to spark the O’Moore County.

Dunphy was heavily involved moments later as Ross King stole a ball from under Brendan Maher’s nose and rattled the back of the net that got the Laois support – and remaining Kilkenny fans – off their feet.

Laois were reduced to 14 men early in the second-half, yet they continued to battle. Ten minutes after Dunphy left the fray they were still just five behind, but Laois would score just once more from play for the remainder of the game as fatigue finally caught up with them.

Noel McGrath and Ronan Maher stole forward for a brace apiece, while Forde continued to do the business on placed ball. Breen’s red card came in stoppage-time, but fortunately for him he’ll be free to line out against Wexford in two weeks.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 1-12 (1-0 pen, 0-8f, 0-1 65), Seamus Callanan 1-2, Noel McGrath 0-3, Ronan Maher and Ger Browne 0-2 each, Padraic Maher, John McGrath, Alan Flynn, Barry Heffernan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Laois: Mark Kavanagh 0-11 (0-11f), Ross King 1-0, Aaron Dunphy and Jack Kelly 0-2, John Lennon, Paddy Purcell and Willie Dunphy 0-1 each.

Tipperary

1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)

5. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)

4. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan)
6. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

8. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
9. Ger Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams)

10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule)
12. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)

13. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
14. Séamus Callanan (Drom-Inch)
15. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)

Subs

17. Michael Breen (Ballina) for Flynn (48)
22. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for O’Dwyer (53) 
19. Jerome Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for Browne (56)
21. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Eire Og) for Barry (62)
25. Jake Morris (Nenagh Eire Og) for O”Meara (67)
26. Sean O’Brien (Newport) for Barrett (blood sub, 72 – 74)

Laois

1. Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix)

2. Lee Cleere (Clough-Ballacolla)
6. Ryan Mullaney (Castletown)
4. Joe Phelan (Camross)

8. John Lennon (Rosenallis)

5. Jack Kelly (Rathdowney Errill)
7. Pádraig Delaney (The Harps)
3. Matthew Phelan (Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton)

13. Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla)
9. Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill)

12. Éanna Lyons (Ballyfin)
11. Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney-Errill)
15. Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill)

10. Aaron Dunphy ((Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton)
14. Charles Dwyer (Ballinakill)

Subs

17. Eric Killeen (Rathdowney Errill) for Phelan (ht)
26. Stephen Maher (Clough Ballacolla) for Dwyer (44) 
21. Conor Phelan (Castletown) for Lyons (57)
25, Stephen Bergin (Clough Ballacolla) for Dunphy (60)
22. Eoin Gaughan (Camross) for Lennon (67)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / Reports from Croke Park

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