Hyland blasts Down away
Laois maintained their promotion drive and remain in second spot in the table following this six-point victory over a depleted Down side in St Patrick's Park Portaferry yesterday.
The winners can thank the superb free-taking by corner-forward Willie Hyland, who scored nine of their points with eight coming from frees.
Centre half-back Matthew Whelan also slotted over three long-range frees as Laois -- after a brilliant first half when assisted by a strong breeze -- had raced into a 0-12 to 0-3 half-time lead. Down more than matched their opponents in a thrilling second half.
Down restarted strongly with three points and a goal from Gareth Johnson reducing the lead to five points.
Four times points were exchanged before Matthew Whelan with two long-range frees and Hyland with two similar scores edged the eventual winners six ahead. In the final stages both sides exchanged points, but Laois easily held out for victory.
Scorers -- Laois: W Hyland 0-9 (0-8f), M Whelan 0-3 (0-3f), M McEvoy, N Foyle, E Costello 0-2 each, J Fitzpatrick, J Walsh 0-1 each. Down: G Johnson 1-3 (0-1f), J Coyle 0-3 (0-1f), B Ennis, C Woods 0-2 each, A Savage 0-1.
Down -- K Keating; L Clarke, S Murray, S Ennis; P Hughes, R McGrattan, M Ennis; A Savage, C Coulter; C O'Prey, G Johnson, B Ennis; J Coyle, C Woods, S Clarke. Subs: K McGarry for C Coulter (41), D Flynn for S Clarke (60), E Clarke for C O'Prey (65).
Laois -- E Reilly; C Dunne, D Maher, B Stapelton; JA Delaney, M Whelan, C Healy; M McEvoy, J Walsh; E Costello, J Rowney, J Fitzpatrick; T Fitzgerald, N Foyle, W Hyland. Subs: Z Keenan for J Rowney (45), J Prior for D Maher (49), J Purcell for J Fitzpatrick (55), J Dunne for T Fitzgerald (72).
Ref -- T Carroll (Offaly).