Curtin inspires Dublin to avoid the big drop
DUBLIN 3-13 LAOIS 1-10 DUBLIN hurlers will be involved in the 2006 race for the McCarthy Cup after the Dubs salvaged their season with a nine-point win over Laois in this crucial Guinness All-Ireland Hurling Championship relegation section semi-final staged before a paltry attendance of 250 at Dr Cullen Park, Carlow, last evening.
Dublin led from start to finish of this match and were the superior side on the night, with centre-forward David Curtin leading by example, with a tally of 1-8, 0-5 of which came from frees, with two points coming from 65s.
Dublin raced into a 0-4 to nil lead early in the game and built on that advantage as the game progressed. Playing with the wind in the opening half, Dublin showed a greater appetite, speed and scoring power than a listless Laois side who took 20 minutes to get on the scoresheet with a point from play by right full-forward Tommy Fitzgerald.
A Laois goal three minutes after the restart from Philip Russell left the score at 1-11 to 1-3 and a resurgent Laois cut the leeway to four points at one stage in the second half.
A crucial Dublin goal arrived in the 58th minute following the best moves of the match involving Derek O'Reilly, Emmet Carroll and Kevin Flynn, culminating in Flynn crashing home a close range goal to put the Dubs in charge 2-12 to 1-8.
A 68th minute goal from Emmet Carroll was the icing on the cake for Dublin, who fully deserved their victory on the night and can now look forward with some confidence to 2006, based on the displays of their minor and under-21 teams.
Stephen Hiney, Gerald O'Meara and Ronan Fallon were outstanding in defence, with David Sweeney and Damian Russell hurling well in midfield and contributing to the scoring. David Curtin was a revelation at centre-forward, while Kevin Flynn and Emmet Carroll took their goals well.
Páidí Butler's Laois side, stricken by injury, made a real match of it in the second half when aided by the wind, but had too much leeway to make up in the second half.
Laois centre-forward James Young provided the major highlights of the game when he cut two line balls straight between the Dublin posts from over 40 metres range and almost from the same spot.
So, while Dublin can now relax, Laois face a relegation final against Antrim, with the losers dropping down to the Christy Ring Cup competition for 2006.
SCORERS - Dublin: D Curtin 1-8 (0-8f, 0-2 65s), K Flynn and E Carroll 1-0, D Sweeney 0-2, C Meehan, L Ryan, D Russell 0-1. Laois: J Young 0-7 (0-4f, 0-2 line cuts), P Russell 1-0, T. Fitzgerald, M McEvoy, S Dwyer 0-1.
Dublin: G Maguire; G O'Meara, S Hiney, J Cullen; D O'Reilly, R Fallon, G Bennett; D Sweeney, D Russell; E Moran, D Curtin, T Moore; E Carroll, M Carton, K Flynn. Subs: C Meehan for Carton, L Ryan for Moran.
Laois: K Galvin; B Campion, P Cuddy, C Healy; M McEvoy, John Walsh, S Dwyer; James Walsh, E Meagher; J Rooney, J Young, P Russell; T Fitzgerald, M Rooney, D Culleton. Subs: C Brophy for Rooney, P Mahon for Meagher, A Delaney for James Walsh.
Referee: B White (Tipperary)