Early second half goals from top scorer, Alan Murphy and Kevin Kenny paved the way for an easy victory for Kilkenny over Laois in the Leinster minor hurling championship in Nowlan Park yesterday (3-20 to 1-9), writes John Knox.
After the concession of those two goals Laois never recovered and the Cats marched on into the next round and a meeting with Wexford on May 5.
The losers looked a decent outfit during the opening half, when the likes of Enda Rowland, Leigh Bergin, Colm Stapleton and Liam O’Connell impressed. However, they fell asunder afterwards.
At half-time Kilkenny led by 1-9 to 0-7 after playing against the stiff breeze. Laois put in a bit of a burst at the start of the new half, but they didn’t make any impression on the scoreboard.
Then somewhat against the run of play a free by Alan Murphy from his own ‘55’ was allowed go all the way to the Laois net in the 36th minute. Within another minute Kevin Kenny grabbed Kilkenny’s third goal.
The divide went out to a huge 3-9 to 0-7 and after that the winners dominated.
Early in the match the scores had been level twice, but once impressive free taker Alan Murphy pointed Kilkenny 0-5 to 0-4 ahead in the 12th minute they never looked back. The 23rd minute goal from John Walsh was the main difference between the teams at the break.
The double blast of goals shattered Laois after the turn. They now meet either Meath or Westmeath on May 5.
Kilkenny looked a decent enough outfit, with Alan Murphy, Ciaran Ryan, James Maher, Jason Stanley and John Walsh particularly prominent.
Scorers: Kilkenny - Alan Murphy (1-7, 0-6 frees); John Walsh (1-4, 0-2 frees); Liam Hennessy (0-4); Kevin Kenny (1-1); Ciaran Ryan (0-2); Stephen Farrell, Eoin Kenny (0-1 each). Laois - Mark Kavanagh (0-3, frees); Aidan Corby (1-0, free); Colm Stapleton, J Campion (0-2 each); Leigh Bergin (0-1, free); Liam O’Connell (0-1).
Kilkenny - D. Holohan; J. Tyrrell, E. Cody, R. Fitzpatrick; J. Maher, J. Stanley, D. Joyce; C. Ryan, S. Farrell; K. Kenny, N. Mullins, E. Kenny; A. Murphy, L. Hennessy, J. Walsh. Subs - L. Blanchfield for Mullins (46th min), M. Kenny for Farrell (46 the min), P. Cass for Tyrrell (50th min), E. Brennan for A. Murphy (53rd min), C. Wallace for Joyce (54th min).
Laois - E. Rowland; R. Mullaney, C. McEvoy, R. Broderick; D. Palmer, L. Bergin, G. Dunne; C. Collier, L. O’Connell; C. Stapleton, J. Campion, A. Corby; M. Kavanagh, C. Ryan, J. Lennon. Subs: E. Cuddy for G. Dunne (41st min), D. Cripps for L. Bergin (46th min).
Referee - P. O’Dwyer (Carlow).