Kilkenny 4-24 Laois 1-13
A huge crowd turned out on a bright showery evening in O’Moore Park Portlaoise on Wednesday evening to see the home side in their sixth final. For Laois it was their first appearance since they met Kilkenny in 1990 as they sought to emulate the achievement of their 1983 side that took the provincial title on a 3-13 to 4-8 victory over Wexford.
Early arrivals to the grounds were able to browse through a top class twenty four page full colour match programme that included match reports from the 1964, 67, 78 and 1990 championships, a host of snippets, statistics, features, captains profiles and extensive photographic coverage from juvenile to senior level of both participating counties.
In the game Kilkenny took the initiative from the throw in and with the start Laois required led 1-4 to no score within four minutes after Ger Aylward goaled. Points by Stephen Maher and Neil Foyle temporarily stemmed the flow before John Power became the sixth Kilkenny forward to score when he added the sides second goal. The score saw the side 2-9 to 0-2 ahead after fifteen minutes. Showing great skill and good teamwork the side continued their scoring run and led 3-14 to 0-6 at the break as Paraic Walsh, Cillian Buckley, Kevin Kelly and Ger Aylward added multiple points and laois captain Darren King and Stephen maher replied.
On the restart Laois who had surprised the pundits by beating last year’s champions Dublin in the quarter-final by 2-15 to 0-17 and then Carlow in the semi final added 1-4 to Kilkenny’s 0-2 in the first ten minutes through Neil Foyles goal and points from Stephen Maher his sides top scorer. In a more even and competitive second half that saw Kilkenny outscored Laois by just a single point 1-10 to 1-9 as both goalkeepers Kilkenny’s Dylan Walsh and Eoin Fleming the Laois net minder were called upon to make excellent saves. As both sides gave their full substitutes list a run Ger Aylward added his second goal in the twenty second minute to see his side take their first title since 2009 on a 4-24 to 1-13 scoreline.
Afterwards Leinster Council Chairman Martin Skelly presented the Cup to Kilkenny Captain as the TG4 Bord Gais man of the match was awarded to Kilkenny now face Galway in the All Ireland semi-final on Saturday 25th of August
The Scorers were: Kilkenny: Ger Aylward 2-5, John Power 2-1, Kevin Kelly (5f); Padraig Walsh 0-6 each; Cillian Buckley, Walter Walsh 0-2, Geoff Brennan, Martin Gaffney 0-1 each. Laois: Stephen Maher 0-7 (5f), Darren King 0-4, Neil Foyle 1-2.
LAOIS: Eoin Fleming; Packie Flynn, Gearoid Burke, Adrian Phelan; Jim Fitzpatrick, Bill Duggan, Nathan Unwin; David Freeman, Barry Dunne; Willie Dunphy, Paraic Lawlor, Stephen Maher; Brendan Reddin, Neil Foyle, Darren King. Subs: James Ryan, Charlie Dwyer, Ciarain McEvoy, Ross King, Johnny Finane. Non playing Subs Barry Wall, TJ Lalor, Eoin Quinlan, Emmett Jones. Also Matthew Collier, Darren Gilmartin, Conor Hyland, Ryan Peacock, Colm Gleeson, Barry Fingleton, Tony Ryan, Michael Hyland, Loughlin Hegarty, Paddy Keating, Paddy Whelan, Colm Delaney.
KILKENNY: Dylan Walsh; Jason Corcoran, Willie Phelan, Brian Kennedy; Luke Harney, Richie Doyle, Joe Lyng; Geoff Brennan, Ollie Walsh; Kevin Kelly, Padraig Walsh, Cillian Buckley; Walter Walsh, John Power, Ger Aylward. Subs: Martin Gaffney, Eoin McGrath, Cathal Kenny, Michael Brennan, Ian Duggan, Non Playing Subs Richie Reid, Pat O’Carroll, Paul Buggy, James Cassin, James Gannon. Also Sean Phelan, Stephen Staunton, Conor Tobin, Johnny Hayes, David Glynn, Paddy Butler, Danny Kenny, Canice Maher, Sean Kehoe, Robert Lennon. Referee: Gearoid McGrath (Dublin).
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Laois Under Twenty One Hurlers