Cooney goal key as Galway march into semis
Galway 1-19 Laois 0-16
A goal from Joseph Cooney proved to be the key for Galway in Rathdowney yesterday, as they beat Laois to qualify for the semi-final of the Walsh Cup.
Cooney's powerful run and finish in the 29th minute gave the Tribesmen a cushion they needed for the rest of the game, as they found it difficult against a young Laois side.
The hosts trailed by just a goal with normal time up, but their search to find the net proved fruitless, with Galway tagging on three late points to put a bit of gloss on the scoreboard.
Laois keeper Eoin Fleming thwarted them on a number of occasions as well, making three brilliant saves over the course of the game. Perhaps the most impressive came in the 64th minute when he kept out a penalty from Jason Flynn.
Dan Nevin top-scored for Galway and he was instrumental early on, hitting three frees to help his team into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 12 minutes. Laois were struggling to make inroads in attack at this stage, but through Neil Foyle and Ben Conroy they steadily grew into the game.
Two Conroy frees got them within two of Galway, before Cooney gathered possession 35 yards out. He raced through the heart of the defence and shot low past Fleming to put Galway 1-7 to 0-5 ahead.
Laois responded well, though, and two points from Neil Foyle and one from Aidan Corby helped them back into it, 1-9 to 0-8 the score at half-time.
The hosts soon halved that deficit after the restart, but Nevin's free-taking kept Galway ahead for the rest of the half.
Laois just couldn't fashion a clear-cut goalscoring chance, and when Galway had weathered the worst of the storm, they tagged on late points to wrap up their place in the semi-finals.
Scorers - Galway: D Nevin 0-13 (10f, 65), J Cooney 1-2, J Flynn, S McInerney 0-2 each. Laois: B Conroy (4f, 65), N Foyle (5f) 0-6 each, R Mullaney, W Dunphy, A Corby, R King 0-1 each.
Laois: E Fleming; C Healy, L Bergin, P Lawlor; M Whelan, P Purcell, R Mullaney; B Conroy, S Downey; E Lyons, P Whelan, A Corby; W Dunphy, N Foyle, A Dunphy. Subs: R King for Dunphy (ht), D Maher for Lawlor (47), C Taylor for Corby (53), S Bergin for P Whelan (61), C Phelan for M Whelan (64, inj), P Keating for Healy (67).
Galway: C Callanan; M Donohue, P Killeen, J Grealish; R Burke, M Dolphin, A Harte; J Coen, S Loftus; P Brehony, J Cooney, D Nevin; J Flynn, C Salmon, D Glennon. Subs: T Monaghan for Brehony (ht), J Hanbury for Coen (53), S McInerney for Salmon (56), M Keating for Loftus (60), J Coyne for Glennon (64), G Lally for Dolphin (64), B Concannon for Flynn (71)
Ref: S Cleere (Kilkenny)