Tuesday 22 May 2018

Clinical King proves difference

Laois 0-27 Antrim 2-16

Ross King was crucial for Laois, as the captain repeatedly punished poor Antrim defending. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Ross King was crucial for Laois, as the captain repeatedly punished poor Antrim defending. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Laois claimed a crucial victory in NHL Division 1B last night, as they beat Antrim by five points. A brilliant display of free-taking from Ross King was crucial for Laois, as the captain repeatedly punished poor Antrim defending to steer his side to glory.

Laois started brightly with Cha Dwyer getting the first score, but four wides in the opening four minutes denied them the chance to build early momentum. Antrim took advantage, and the excellent Neil McManus rattled off four points without reply, two from play and two from frees, to see the visitors lead 0-4 to 0-1 after 12 minutes.

Laois finally atoned for their wasteful start after that, as King brought them level with three pointed frees, and then Dwyer put them back ahead. Neil Foyle and King (free) kept Laois on the front foot, with McManus again leading the response for Antrim with another free.

The last five minutes of the half belonged to Laois and they scored four in-a-row before Johnny Murphy blew his half-time whistle. All the scores came from frees, with King and goalkeeper Enda Rowland landing two each to see the home side lead 0-13 to 0-8 at the interval.

Laois kept their foot on the throttle when play resumed, with King, Paddy Purcell and James Ryan pointing to see them lead by double scores, 0-16 to 0-8, in the 42nd minute.

Antrim needed a response, and sub Eoghan Campbell provided it with a goal. Another McManus score and Nigel Elliott's late goal made things interesting, but King guided Laois to a crucial win.

Scorers - Laois: R King 0-15 (13f, 65); E Rowland (fs), C Dwyer, J Ryan, N Foyle 0-2 each; M Kavanagh, P Purcell, C Comerford, S Downey 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-11 (9f); E Campbell, N Elliott 1-1 each; C Johnston, N McAuley, M Connolly 0-1 each.

Laois: E Rowland; D Hartnett, L Bergin, L Cleere; P Lawlor, M Whelan, E Killeen; J Ryan, P Purcell; B Conroy, C Dwyer, W Dunphy; R King, N Foyle, C Comerford. Subs: J Phelan for Killeen (50 mins), M Kavanagh for Comerford (54), S Downey for Foyle (58), C Taylor for Conroy (62 mins), J Kelly for Dunphy (65 mins)

Antrim: C O'Connell; A Graffin, J Dillon, P Burke; R McCambridge, N McAuley, D Kearney; J Maskey, C McKinley; N Elliott, N McManus, D McKinley; J McNaughton, C McCann, C Johnston. Subs: E Campbell for McCann (h-t), C Carson for McNaughton (43), S Rooney for Kearney (45), G Walsh for Maskey (47), M Connelly for McKinley (47)

Referee: J Murphy (Limerick)

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