BY NIALL SHERRY
Dublin up next for Lyng’s men
Allianz Hurling League 1B
Round 3, Laois Hire O’Moore Park
Kilkenny got back to winning ways in the Allianz National League with a comprehensive 13-point win over Willie Maher’s charges at Laois Hire O’Moore Park last Sunday. The points were more or less secured following an impressive first half performance by the Cats as they took a 14-point lead into the changing room at half-time. Despite an early major from the home side in the opening stages of the second half, Derek Lyng’s side reasserted the superiority and ran out comfortable winners.
There was just one change to the Kilkenny starting XV with Dicksboro’s Niall Rowe starting in place of Glenmore’s Shane Murphy.
Galmoy’s Billy Drennan who has been in fine form since entering the senior ranks, struck the first score of the game in the opening minute and this was quickly added to with points from the returning Eoin Cody and Thomastown’s John Donnelly. That was Eoin Cody’s first point in the black and amber since being named captain earlier this year.
Laois got the score board moving when Stephen Maher struck over a placed ball to get the home support warmed up. Drennan then showed his prowess from frees when he knocked his first free just a minute later. No.4 Fiachra C Fennell then pointed before ‘Picky’ Maher rifled over a ‘65 to keep the home side in touch. Graigue Ballycallan’s Billy Ryan then scored a nice point before play became a little scrappy as the sides battled to gain the upper hand.
John Donnelly then pointed for the first score in some 5 minutes before Tomas Keyes replied for the home side. Derek Lyng’s charges then went through somewhat of a purple patch as they struck seven unanswered points in a devastating 10-minute spell up to the 24th minute. A Hat-trick of placed balls from Drennan was accompanied by further scores from midfield duo, Paddy’s Mullen and Deegan, John Donnelly and one from Tullaroan’s Mossy Keoghan to leave the Cats 9-points ahead.
James Keyes got Laois’s first score in almost 12 minutes when took a fine score, but the visitors hit back straight away with another free from Billy Drennan. ‘Picky’ Maher fired over a placed ball of his own on 27 minutes, but Willie Maher’s side would only register one more score in the opening half, again via Stephen Maher. Kilkenny were finding it all too easy to get scores. The wing-back pairing of Tommy Walsh and Cillian Buckley got on the scoresheet, while Paddy Mullen, Billy Ryan and Mossy Keoghan all got their second scores of the games. Billy Drennan got a lovely point from play and there was even time for former All-Star keeper Eoin Murphy to strike over a long range free to leave the Cats in a very commanding position at the short whistle, 0-21 for the visitors, 0-7 for the hosts.
Cats boss Lyng replaced Tommy Walsh with Glenmore’s Shane Murphy in the only change for the Cats as they took to the O’Moore Park pitch for the second half.
Willie Maher would have been reminding his charges that there was still a half of hurling to be played and they certainly came out with a spring int their step. The first Laois attack of the second half resulted in the only green flag of the day being raised. Centre-back Patrick Purcell sent a beautiful ball into full forward Martin Phelan in the heart of the Cats defence and the No-14 made no mistake in firing past Eoin Murphy.
Laois tagged on the next score as well via substitute Aaron Dunphy. Fresh from his goal fest in the Dillon Quirke Challenge match, Tullaroan’s Gearoid Dunne got Kilkenny’s first score of the second period, and this was added to by his fellow club man Padraig Walsh.
Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher then hit a brace of points, but this was not eating sufficiently into the Cats lead. Billy Drennan and Mossy Keoghan notched points for the visitors before Alan Murphy entered the fray in place of Paddy Mullen. ‘Picky’ Maher and goalkeeper Enda Rowland added free’s for the home side before Dicksboro’s Timmy Clifford replaced Gearoid Dunne. The deadly Drennan then raised 3 more white flags before being replaced by Walter Walsh with about 20 minutes gone in the second half.
The home side were trying valiantly to stay in the game and registered the next couple of scores via Patrick Purcell and goalkeeper Enda Rowland. Glenmore’s Alan Murphy pointed for the Cats before Maher popped over another placed ball to reduce the deficit to 12 points. John Donnelly who had notched 0-3 then left the field to be replaced by The Village’s Cian Kenny.
The O’Moore County men hit two quickfire points via ‘Picky’ Maher and Ryan Mullaney, but Kilkenny hit back with points from play by O’Loughlin’s Paddy Deegan and Mossy Keoghan. Captain Eoin Cody struck over a brace of frees before referee Thomas Geeson sounded the long whistle. Final score from Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Laois 1-18, Kilkenny 0-34.
Kilkenny Scorers: Billy Drennan 0-11 (eight frees), Martin Keoghan and Eoin Cody (two frees) 0-4, John Donnelly 0-3, Billy Ryan, Paddy Mullen and Paddy Deegan 0-2, Tommy Walsh, Cillian Buckley, Eoin Murphy, Alan Murphy, Padraig Walsh, Gearoid Dunne 0-1.
Laois Scorers: Stephen Maher 0-10 (nine frees), Martin Phelan 1-0, Enda Rowland 0-2 (frees) Fiachra C-Fennell, Tomas Keyes, Aaron Dunphy, James Keyes, Paddy Purcell, Ryan Mullaney 0-1.
KILKENNY: E Murphy; S Murphy, C Delaney, P Walsh; T Walsh, R Reid, C Buckley; P Deegan, P Mullen; B Ryan, J Donnelly, Eoin Cody; B Drennan, M Keoghan, G Dunne. Subs: S Murphy for T Walsh (HT), A Murphy for Mullen (46), T Clifford for G Dunne (51), W Walsh for Drennan (56), C Kenny for Donnelly (62)
LAOIS: E Rowland; P Dunne, L O’Connell, D Hartnett; P Delaney, P Purcell, I Shanahan; F C Fennell, J Keyes; R Mullaney, S Maher, J Kelly; R King, Martin Phelan, T Keyes. *Subs: *P Lalor and A Dunphy for Fennell and Dunne (both HT), E Lyons for J Keyes (45), J Duggan for T Keyes (52), D Delaney for King (65),
Referee: T Gleeson (Dublin)
>> SHERRY SAYS…
Back to winning ways for our hurlers away to Laois. You could sense from early on in proceedings that Derek Lyng’s side were determined to Leave O’Moore Park with nothing less than maximum points.
Again, young Billy Drennan was on-point with his placed ball efforts, finishing the day with 0-11, a tally which included 8 frees. He’s settling in nicely.
The starting team was strengthened with the return of Eoin Murphy and Shamrocks Ballyhale trio, Richie Reid, Paddy Mullen and this season’s captain Eoin Cody. Midfield chipped in with 5 points, while the half-forward line hit 0-9.
Things are beginning to take shape. Yes, it was (only) Laois, but it’s another building block en-route to the championship. Next up for Derek Lyng’s charges is the visit of Dublin.
• Congratulations to TJ Reid who was named GWA’s Personality of the Year for 2022 at Dublin’s Iveagh Garden Hotel recently. There’s plenty more awards there for the taking for the imperious Reid!