BY NIALL SHERRY
ALL PIX DANNY LAHART
Phelan hits 2 majors in facile win
Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B
@ UPMC Nowlan Park
Brian Cody’s men got back to winning ways at home last Sunday, as they put the slim defeat away to Tipperary behind them, by putting Laois to the sword with the minimum of ease.
A 17-point victory didn’t flatter the Cats, as they made best use of the elements in the second half to inflict a 3rd Allianz National League loss on the O’Moore County hurlers this season.
While ‘Cheddar’s’ charges were somewhat wasteful with the chance they created in the opening period, they was a clear gulf in class between the two outfits throughout the encounter.
Graigue-Ballycallan forward, Billy Ryan opened the scoring within the first 20 seconds, but Laois settled quickly after that score and registered four points of their own, via midfielder Jack Kelly (2) and their main danger man, Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher, who fired over a pair of placed balls to give his a 3-point lead by the 6th minute.
All Laois’s good work was swiftly undone following a nice move by the home side just after. A long searching angled ball into the visitors defence eluded their sweeper, the less famous John Lennon and allowed Mossy Keoghan and Conahy Shamrocks Tom Phelan to exchange passes, before Phelan dispatched his shot to the net from about 15 metres out, for the first green flag of the day to level matters.
Phelan’s goal appeared to stun the Laois team, and they quickly found themselves behind, when Tullaroan’s Mossy Keoghan rifled over a nice point to give the home side the lead once again, and one they never relinquished for the rest of the game. Billy Ryan added another point for the Cats, and again, the lively attacker looked dangerous throughout, as he finished the day with a tally of 0-4.
Seamus Plunkett’s team did respond, but some wayward shooting with the aid of the wind didn’t help their cause, indeed his charges would record some eight wide’s in the opening period, compared to their hosts six, and this proved costly by the short whistle.
Glenmore’s Eoin Murphy was busy man in the opening period, but this was more a result of Laois efforts dropping short, rather than any serious threat to his goal. One would imagine ‘Cheddar’ was livid with his side dropping EIGHT efforts short in the first half.
By contrast, Kilkenny kept the scoreboard ticking over, Murphy No.2, Alan fired over 7-points, six of which came from his accuracy via the placed ball. Laois responded with points from the impressive James Keyes, Ross King and Fiachra Fennell. By the short whistle, Cody’s inside forward line had notched 12 points between them, as the home side entered the interval 1-12 to 0-11 ahead.
When you play with the wind, you need to be a few points to the good before the ‘turn-a-round’. Cheddar’s troops were 4 points down.
The first quarter of the second period saw Kilkenny up the intensity and effectively win the match, as they had somewhat of a purple patch, where they outscored the O’Moore County 1-5 to no score in a 5-minute blitz from around the 40th minute.
James Keyes popped a point over for his side when play resumed, but the reliable Alan Murphy and in-form Mossy both hit a brace of points, along with one from Billy Ryan, as the Laois puck-out failed twice on the bounce. The loss of a third consecutive restart, would put the result beyond any doubt as Kilkenny registered their second major of the day.
Conahy Shamrocks Phelan out-paced Fiachra Fennell to a loose ball before bursting forward for some 50 metres. The wing-forward evaded any would-be markers before his ‘dummy’ hand-pass accounted for two defenders which gave him the time to fire past Enda Rowland for his second goal of the game. The score board now read, Kilkenny 2-18, Laois 0-12.
Laois would only register 5 more points during the remainder of the game, a couple of frees from keeper Rowland, and points from Ross King, substitute Ciaran Byrne and wing-back Ryan Mullaney.
Brian Cody had the luxury of using his bench and deploying the maximum 5 subs. His charges would add a further ten points before the long whistle. Mossy Keoghan, Alan Murphy and Billy Ryan added to their personal tallies, while Cillian Buckley, David Blanchfield, James Maher, Walter Walsh, John Walsh all got their names on the score board.
Along with their scoring run, the Cats also managed to notch 13 wides in the second period, and this will no doubt be a focus of training ahead of their clash with Dublin. More pleasing will be the fact that nine men in the black and amber contributed to the scoring.
Laois will have felt a huge sense of relief when Offaly whistler Richie Fitzsimons brought proceedings to a close, another heavy defeat and another long summer in prospect, albeit most likely short in competitive length. Full time score, Kilkenny 2-28, Laois 0-17. Job done for the Cats. Tom Phelan impressive throughout. Off to Dublin next.
>> SHERRY SAYS………..
This will be quite short……not much gained from this outing, other than more minutes for many players. Conahy Shamrocks Tom Phelan will have done his championship chances no harm, hitting 2-1. Alan Murphy is Glenmore’s TJ from the placed ball. Talking of TJ – he was last seen in Thailand.
Billy Ryan continues to impress as does Mossy. Brian Cody said after the Laois victory that he expects some of the Shamrocks Ballyhale contingent to be in the squad for the next game, Dublin at Parnell Park. A little sprinkling of extra quality to an improving squad.
Mattie Kenny’s team should provide more or a challenge than Laois. The fixture in the Capital will set us up nicely for the Deise. One game at a time… sweet Jesus.