Gaffney turns the tide to set up Kilkenny cruise
Kilkenny 2-18 Laois 0-11 Leinster MHC Semi-Final
All-Ireland champions Kilkenny made easy work of beating Laois at Nowlan Park.
The losers looked promising in the early stages and led twice, courtesy of nice points from Mark Kavanagh and Aaron Dunphy.
However, Kilkenny roused themselves quickly and hit back smartly to take control. During a lucrative seven-minute spell, they bagged 1-3. In that time, Andrew Gaffney applied a powerful finish when shooting the first goal of the game in the 11th minute.
Laois defender Denis Cahill picked up an injury and was stretchered off. After being treated for seven minutes on the field, Cahill was rushed to hospital, where he was treated for concussion.
By half-time, the Cats were clear leaders by 1-11 to 0-5. Laois opened well in the new half, but they were stopped in their tracks when Kilkenny grabbed their second goal in the 34th minute.
Daniel O'Connor worked well to win good ball before creating the opening, and John Donnelly nearly burst the net with a powerful drive from 20 metres.
With the divide 2-12 to 0-7, there was no holding back the Leinster and All-Ireland champions.
Laois were virtually a one-man show in attack in the second period, when Kavanagh shot all but one of their scores.
Scorers - Kilkenny: A Gaffney 1-6 ( 3fs, 2 '65s), J Donnelly 1-2, J Cuddihy, N Walsh 0-2 each, R Leahy 0-2 ( 1f); M Cody, D Joyce, D O'Connor, T O'Dwyer 0-1 each. Laois: M Kavanagh 0-8 (5fs, 2 '65s); A Dunphy, A Bergin, S Phelan 0-1 each.
Kilkenny - S Murphy; M Cody, T Walsh, C McGrath; D Mullen, D Joyce, C Doheny; R Leahy, J Connolly; A Gaffney, J Donnelly, D O'Connor; T O'Dwyer, J Cuddihy, N Walsh. Subs: J Bergin for O'Connor (39), E Delaney for Mullen (44), C Hennessy for Donnelly (52), R Butler for Gaffney (57), R Coffey for Cuddihy (57).
Laois - S Kelly; J Geaney, C Phelan, D Connolly; L O'Connell, D Cahill, L Cleere; S Downey, S Dunphy; S Phelan, M Phelan, A Bergin; M Kavanagh, R Phelan, A Dunphy. Subs: E Killeen for Cahill (25), D Conroy for M Phelan (43), L Delaney for Downey (49), A Mortimer for Dunphy (53), R McEvoy for R Phelan (54).
Ref - A Devine (Westmeath).