Saturday 21 October 2017

Youth shines for Ger Cunningham as Dublin cruise past Laois

DUBLIN 2-28 LAOIS 1-15

Eamon Dillon of Dublin celebrates afer scoring his side's first goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Dublin and Laois at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Eamon Dillon of Dublin celebrates afer scoring his side's first goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Dublin and Laois at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Conor McKeon

By Conor McKeon

DUBLIN’S hurling summer scurries on.

Tonight in Parnell Park, they performed the needy against a badly depleted Laois team and looked sharp.

They don’t, however, carry nearly the sort of weight their cohabiters of the pots for Monday’s early morning draw for round two of these hurling qualifiers do.

There were flecks of encouragement all the same.

Some of Dublin’s younger players displayed why Ger Cunningham has been so comfortable about letting so many of the older ones trundle off towards the inter-county sunset.

Here, his team rattled off 1-14 wind-assisted from the 43rd minute until injury-time and put on an exhibition against a Laois team which has had its heart ripped out through injury and suspension.

He got strong performances from two of his more experienced attacks too, in David Treacy and Eamon Dillon.

Laois won the vital early battle, mind – the toss.

They elected to play with the stiff, straight wind that blew from the church end and for the most part, used it well.

Minus too many of their most experienced players and prolific scorers, Laois elected to sit Cahir Healy in front of his own defence to perform sweeping duties.

Dublin’s narcoleptic tendencies around the middle saw Paddy Purcell roam freely and gale-aided, he shot five first half points, four in the first seven minutes.

Gradually, Dublin grew into it though.

Fionn Ó Riain Broin made a couple of fine early blocks on his debut at corner-back.

Chris Crummey lorded the skies sitting between the two Dublin defensive lines and though their marking left something to be desired, both Ben Quinn and Niall McMorrow linked the play intelligently and both garnished the scoreboard.

Liam Rushe, relocated to centre-forward, found the long hang time of Conor Dooley’s puck outs into the wind difficult to attack and that experiment may be back under review.

It took Dublin all of 24 minutes to get level but when Dillon and the other debutant, Cian O’Sullivan, gradually wriggling free, they went three clear only for frees from Ryan Mullaney and a 100 yard effort from Laois ‘keeper, Enda Rowland to leave the minimum between the teams.

The second-half started along similar lines but Eamon Dillon’s 40th minute goal was the death-knell for any hopes of an upset.

Dublin’s forward were beginning to get on top of their men anyway but Dillon took a long ball from Ó Riain Broin and slammed it into the net.

Thereafter, Dublin went on their unhindered run of scoring, with Dillon snapping a second goal, Treacy firing over nine and Dublin’s subs, David O’Callaghan included getting in on the act.

Biggest tests lie in wait. Much bigger.

SCORERS – Dublin: E Dillon 2-4, D Treacy 0-9 (6f), C O’Sullivan, B Quinn 0-3 each, D Burke, D O’Callaghan, F Whitely 0-2 each, S Barrett, N McMorrow, J Hetherton (f) 0-1 each. Laois: M Kavanagh 0-6 (2f), P Purcell 0-5, E Rowland 1-1 (1-1f), M Whelan, C Taylor, C Collier 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: C Dooley; C O’Callaghan, E O’Donnell, F Ó Riain Broin; S Barrett, C Crummey, S Moran; B Quinn, N McMorrow; D Burke, L Rushe, E Dillon; C O’Sullivan, R O’Dwyer, D Treacy. Subs: F Whitely for McMorrow (49), D O’Callaghan for O’Sullivan (60), F McGibb for Burke (62), J Hetherton for O’Dwyer (65), T Connolly for Moran (65)

LAOIS: E Rowland; D Palmer, L Bergin, L Cleere; E Killeen, M Whelan, R Mullaney; P Purcell, S Downey; C Healy, C Collier, J Kelly; N Foyle, A Dunphy, M Kavanagh. Subs: C Taylor for Kelly (h-t), A Corby for Dunphy (52), S Bergin for Downey (56), D Hartnett for Killeen (71), P Lawlor for Collier (71)

REF: J Keenan (Wicklow)

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