Dowling gets Laois off to a flier
Laois 3-17 Antrim 1-19
An experimental Laois hurling side got their 2016 season off to a winning start with this four-point win over Antrim at Heywood CS on Saturday.
The hosts got off to a great start when debutant Tadhg Dowling rifled home a goal after just four minutes, and they never trailed after that. PJ Scully added a second goal in the 10th minute as Laois built up a 2-3 to 0-5 advantage, but Antrim came back well.
Conor Johnston was in brilliant form at corner-forward, and four points from him left the scores at 2-11 to 0-12 at half time.
After the restart, both teams traded points before Antrim got right back into the game thanks to a goal from Johnston. Ciaran Clarke added a point from a free which left just one point between the sides, but Laois responded well.
PJ Scully (free) and Paddy Purcell pointed before Purcell played Ben Conroy in on goal, and he controlled the ball superbly before shooting past Gabriel McTaggart.
The men from the Glens managed to get within three points heading into injury time, but PJ Scully's late free sealed the win for Laois.
SCORERS - Laois: PJ Scully 1-6 (4f), B Reddin 0-4, T Dowling, B Conroy 1-0 each, M Whelan, P Purcell 0-2 each, E Fennelly, E Reilly (f), R Mullaney 0-1 each.
Antrim: C Johnson 1-6, C Clarke 0-4 (1f), L Watson 0-4f, O McFadden, S McAfee, K McKernan, M Dudley, N McKenna 0-1 each.
LAOIS: E Reilly; O Carroll, D Maher, C Stapleton; J Walsh, N Foyle, R Mullaney; M Whelan, B Reddin; C Collier, E Fennelly, P Purcell; PJ Scully, T Dowling, B Conroy. Subs: L Bergin for Foyle (46), M Kavanagh for Collier (46), B O'Mara for Mullaney (48), J Lennon for Fennelly (50), J Phelan for Conroy (58, inj)
ANTRIM: G McTaggart; D Nugent, C McKinley, B McFall; CJ McGourty, O McFadden, N McAuley; K McKernan, C Johnston; S McAfee, M Dudley, E McCloskey; C Johnston, L Watson, C Clarke. Subs: D McKernan for Dudley (46), D Hamill for Watson (48), N McKenna for McAfee (55)
REF: P Burke (Kilkenny)