Free-flowing Dublin Schutte their way into the next round
Dublin 4-17 Laois 0-19
Dublin advanced to the next round of the hurling qualifiers with a wheeze rather than ease, hitting as many wides as scores but ultimately cushioned by an early two-goal burst from sharp-shooter Mark Schutte.
Laois’ revival under Cheddar Plunkett has stalled; Dublin were vulnerable to a mugging but, apart from a blistering blitzkrieg in the second quarter, they were always struggling to atone for their early defensive mis-haps.
If Dublin were undone by early goals against Galway last time out, they profited from them here.
And where Paul Schutte was undone by Cathal Mannion in Tullamore, here his brother rendered Brian Stapleton a dizzying presence in the corner as he struck for two early goals to give the away side an early fillip.
He struck twice in the opening six minutes – his first came after just 29 seconds – as the visitors had a whirlwind start against a Laois side who were visibly standing off their opponents.
With Conal Keaney on fire alongside Schutte, Dublin had built a formidable 2-3 to 03 lead into the stiff breeze after only ten minutes, seemingly hurling their Leinster championship frustration out of their system.
Laois were stunned and, after folding themselves against Galway, then home side must have feared the worst but a wonderful passage of pugnacious play in midfield, featuring some crunching tackles, brought them and the home crowd to life.
A hat-trick of wonderful long-range points from Charles Dwyer, adding to a fine brace of efforts from boisterous dup Willie Hyland, ensured that the midlanders had hauled themselves level by the time Zane Keenan pointed his fourth free of the first-half in the 24th minute.
However, with Keaney always dangerous, already having an effort scrubbed off for holding a defender’s hurl, his partner in crime Schutte set him up for Dublin’s third goal three minutes before the break.
This ended a decent spurt of 1-4 within a five minute period which again pushed Dublin into a six-point lead, albeit Hyland’s third point reduced the margin to five at the break.
Three quick points from Ryan, a free, and a brace of inspiring scores from the irrepressible Keaney and on-song Eamon Dillon pushed Dublin into an eight-point lead by the 40th minute and, with Laois struggling to get a stranglehold in midfield, it was difficult to see a way back for the outsiders.
The lead was still a relatively yawning one – seven points – as ten minutes ticked on and a series of Laois sideline switched failed to have any meaningful impact.
Laois had one minor goal chance when nippy substitute James Walsh hared through the middle with the goal in his sights but Paul Schutte, exorcising his Tullamore ghosts, effected a perfect tackle.
Dublin couldn’t kill the game and a total of 20 wides told a tale as three points in a row from Laois, scored by Neil Foyle, Tom Delaney and a Keenan free brought them to within five points with as many minutes.
But a goal never looked likely and Dublin will enter Monday’s qualifier draw, albeit knowing that vast improvement will be required if Ger Cunningham’s men are to advance their summer claims.
Scorers: Laois – Z Kennan 0-6 (4f), W Hyland 0-4, C Dwyer 0-3, J Fitzpatrick, J Campion, S Maher, M Whelan, N Foyle, T Delaney 0-1 each.
Dublin – M Schutte 2-1, C Keaney 1-3, P Ryan 0-5, E Dillon 0-4, D Treacy 1-0, S Barrett, R O’Dwyer, J McCaffrey, D Plunkett 0-1 each.
Laois: E Reilly; P Whelan (PJ Scully 48), C Healy, B Stapleton (J Delaney HT); J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, T Delaney; D Palmer, P Purcell (J Walsh 44); S Maher (B Conroy 68), Z Keenan, C Dwyer; T Fitzgerald (N Foyle 44), W Hyland, J Campion.
Dublin: G Maguire; N Corcoran, C O’Callaghan, P Schutte; C Crummey, L Rushe, S Barrett (S Durkin 52); J McCaffrey, R O’Dwyer; C Boland (D O’Callaghan 61), E Dillon, D Sutcliffe (D Plunkett 70); P Ryan (D Treacy 70), C Keaney, M Schutte.
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)