Laois 3-17 Offaly 2-16
Laois manager Eddie Brennan has got his first big win as boss as his charges took the two points against midland rivals Offaly at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
Laois led by 13 points at the break and were fully deserving of that completely outplaying Offaly. Laois though did have the aid of a stiff breeze in the opening half, but Offaly left it to little to late to mount a comeback in the second half. Offaly hurled well against the win in the opening 10 minutes and indeed they led the game by a point after 12 minutes, 0-04 to 0-03, Paddy Murphy giving the Faithful men the lead. The game changed completely after that though as Laois stormed into the game with scores from all angles. A high ball down the left side of the pitch landed to Willie Dunphy who sprinted through to finish the ball past Offaly netminder Eoin Cahill. Laois went on a score shooting spree then Aaron Dunphy raised three white flags, while Mark Kavanagh was superb from placed balls. He also scored a superb point from play, while Stephen Maher also registered one for the O’Moore County.
Dunphy got his second goal after a mix up in the Offaly defence. A short puck out from Eoin Cahill was lost by Shane Kinsella which allowed Paddy Purcell to pounce to set up Dunphy for the three pointer. That was 2-07 without reply and Offaly were in real trouble. Joe Bergin got a free though to stop the rot. Offaly trailed at the break 2-13 to 0-06 and the game looked over as a contest.
Three Offaly substitutions were made at half time. In fairness the substitutions improved the side with Colm Gath netting after 38 minutes. Laois though looked sharper, fitter and more skillful and they began to create more goal opportunities. Indeed Eoin Cahill was forced to make two saves, both one on one situations. However, he couldn’t hold out much longer as Paddy Purcell broke through had his shot saved only for Stephen Maher to drive the rebound to the back of the net. Offaly hit a purple patch hitting four in a row, but they needed a lot of goals to get something from the game. They did manage to get one threw a long delivery from Joe Bergin which went through a crowd to the net. So, a 4 point win in the end which probably flattered Offaly. Offaly will need a massive favour from a couple of teams to avoid the drop to Division 2A for 2020. However, they look to have no chance in my opinion.
Laois will battle it out with Carlow next weekend in a very important game, division 1b safety will more than likely be at stake and the winner will be guaranteed a league quarter final.