LEINSTER SHC : Butler's Laois win in a canter
LAOIS 2-22 WICKLOW 0-10 THIS was the third championship meeting of these teams in the space of 12 months - and the outcome has always been the same with Laois in front at the finish.
Last year at Aughrim, Laois had six points to spare and two months later at Thurles, in the All-Ireland B Final, the margin was 14 points. And at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise yesterday, the margin was a comprehensive 18 points.
Laois had their place in the next round of the Leinster SHC as good as wrapped up even before half-time.
Despite playing into a strong breeze, they led by 2-11 to 0-6 at the interval. Wicklow had battled back from three points down to draw level after 15 minutes when a speculative shot from defender Michael McEvoy from 70 metres went all the way to the Wicklow net.
Liam Tynan added the second goal five minutes before half-time, while points from Brian McCormack and James Young stretched the home side's lead.
Faced with a strong breeze in the second half, Wicklow's task was always going to be enormous. Having recently won the Keogh Cup for the third year in succession, Wicklow were obviously well-prepared, but their over-dependence on John Keogh for scores cost them dearly.
Laois meet Carlow, surprise conquerors of Meath on Sunday, in the next round of the championship at Portlaoise next Saturday.
MAN OF THE MATCH - L Tynan (Laois).
SCORERS - Laois: J Young 0-7, L Tynan 1-3, M McEvoy 1-0, B McCormack 0-3, P Cuddy, R Jones, J Phelan 0-2 each, L Wynne, E Meagher and P Mahon 0-1 each. Wicklow: J Keogh 0-8, D Moran and W O'Gorman 0-1 each.
LAOIS - J Lyons; L Mahon, Pakie Cuddy, R Delaney; C Cuddy, Paul Cuddy, M McEvoy; J Young, R Jones; J Phelan, P Mahon, E Meagher; B McCormack, L Tynan, T Fitzgerald. Subs: D Rooney for P Cuddy, P Drennan for McEvoy, C Coonan for Delaney, D Culleton for Fitzgerald, L Wynne for Jones.
WICKLOW - K Snell; MJ O'Neill, G Keogh, G Bermingham; L Kennedy, MA O'Neill, T McGrath; G Doran, C O'Toole; D Moran, J Murphy, J Keogh; D Hyland, W O'Gorman, T Collins. Subs: E Kennedy for Moran, R O'Brien for Kennedy.
REF - D Murphy (Wexford).