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Marksman Murphy points way for Kilkenny

A simple error at a time they were being daring and brave cost Laois big time in this intriguing clash played before a fair-sized crowd in Nowlan Park.

Twice during the early stages the scores were level before deadly free-taker Alan Murphy broke the deadlock and earned Kilkenny the lead they were never going to surrender in the 12th minute (0-5 to 0-4).

Still, progress was difficult for the Cats, who led at half-time by 1-9 to 0-7, thanks mainly to a 23rd-minute goal from John Walsh.

Laois came out in the second half with all guns blazing. They threatened without making an impression on the scoreboard.

Then Lady Luck turned her back on them. A long free from his own half by Murphy was allowed to sail all the way into the net.

Before Laois recovered, Kevin Kenny cut through their defence and lashed home Kilkenny's third goal.

After 37 minutes, the score was 3-9 to 0-7 and it was game over.

Kilkenny face Wexford in the next round on May 5 while Laois face either Meath or Westmeath on the same date.

SCORERS – Kilkenny: A Murphy 1-7 (6fs), J Walsh 1-4 (2fs), L Hennessy 0-4, K Kenny 1-1, C Ryan 0-2, S Farrell, E Kenny 0-1 each. Laois: M Kavanagh 0-3 (3fs), A Corby 1-0 (f), C Stapleton, J Campion 0-2 each, L Bergin (f), L O'Connell 0-1 each.

KILKENNY – D Holohan; J Tyrrell, E Cody, R Fitzpatrick; J Maher, J Stanley, D Joyce; C Ryan, S Farrell; K Kenny, N Mullins, E Kenny; A Murphy, L Hennessy, J Walsh. Subs: L Blanchfield for Mullins (46), M Kenny for Farrell (46), P Cass for Tyrrell (50), E Brennan for A Murphy (53), C Wallace for Joyce (54).

LAOIS – E Rowland; R Mullaney, C McEvoy, R Broderick; D Palmer, L Bergin, G Dunne; C Collier, L O'Connell; C Stapleton, J Campion, A Corby; M Kavanagh, C Ryan, J. Lennon. Subs: E Cuddy for G Dunne (41), D Cripps for L Bergin (46).

REF – P O'Dwyer (Carlow).

Irish Independent