Rigney's men boss Carlow
LAOIS hurlers won the bragging rights in this local derby with Carlow at Dr Cullen Park yesterday in a final-round game in which the home side finished with 12 players and the winners with 14.
The O'Moore County were the dominant force throughout this game, which doubled as the Walsh Shield final. Surer of touch, faster to the pull and more economical in their hurling, Niall Rigney's side never looked in danger once they had taken an early command of proceedings.
With Willie Hyland and Zane Keenan in the pivotal forward positions, Laois were 0-6 to 0-2 in front on 25 minutes. An out-of-sorts Carlow were then given a penalty, but Paudie Kehoe's effort was blocked on the line.
By half time the visitors had stormed 0-9 to 0-3 ahead and they remained in the comfort zone throughout the second half as Kevin Ryan's men imploded through three sendings off.
Following a melee three minutes after the restart, Carlow midfielder Damien Roberts and Laois left half-back Conor Dunne were both shown straight red cards by referee Tony Carroll.
Carlow's fading hopes took a further nosedive when Edward Coady was sent off, apparently for a second yellow card when it appeared the right half-back hadn't received a first.
The game was killed off by Laois when Keenan sent a daisy cutter hurtling to the Carlow net on 50 minutes, putting the visitors 1-12 to 0-5 in front.
There was late consolation for Carlow when Craig Doyle scored a fine goal from an acute angle but the home county's woes were completed when centre-back John Rogers received a straight red card minutes from the end.
Scorers -- Laois: Z Keenan 1-4, W Hyland 0-3 (0-1f), M Whelan (0-2f), J Purcell 0-2 each, C Healy, E Costelloe, N Foyle, S Dollard, J Dunne 0-1 each. Carlow: C Doyle 1-1, P Kehoe (0-1f, 0-1 '65), A Gaule (0-1f) 0-2 each, D Murphy, R Foley, D English (0-1f), R Dunbar (0-1f), B Lawler 0-1 each.
Laois -- P Carroll; J Delaney, D Maher, B Stapleton; C Healy, M Whelan, C Dunne; M McEvoy, J Walsh; E Costelloe, W Hyland, J Fitzpatrick; N Foyle, Z Keenan, T Fitzgerald. Subs: E Jackman for Fitzgerald (20), S Dollard for Fitzpatrick (44), B Campion for Stapleton (54), J Dunne for Jackman (61).
Carlow -- K Kehoe; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, D Shaw; E Coady, J Rogers, R Coady; D Roberts, E Nolan; E Murphy, E Byrne, C Doyle; A Gaule, R Foley, P Kehoe. Subs: R Dunbar for Byrne (31), J Hickey for P Kehoe (34), D English for Kavanagh (h/t), B Lawler for Murphy (52).
Ref -- T Carroll (Offaly).