LAOIS 1-23 ANTRIM 1-15 THE accuracy of James Young was the decisive factor as Laois earned the right to play in next year's All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship after the relegation play-off in Navan.
Young fired over eight times before the break when his side led by 1-14 to 1-9. Three of those scores were from play and one of the frees was a mighty effort from over 80 meters. John Rowney and Philip Russell also made their presence felt in the Laois attack and Russell struck for the first goal following a long delivery from Darren Rooney after 13 minutes.
Then on 22 minutes Antrim forward Brian McFall went for a goal from a free. The attempt was blocked, but Patrick Richmond finished to the net to bring the Ulster champions back into the game. Antrim got the deficit down to two points before four scores from Young left five in it at half-time.
Four points was as close as Antrim got in the second half during which the tempo dropped. They kept the game alive in the third quarter but Laois regained their scoring touch after that. Young finished with eleven points and centre-forward Liam Tynan also shot over three points in the second period.
SCORERS - Laois: J Young 0-11 9 frees, P Russell 1 free, L Tynan 0-4, J Rowney 0-3, M Rooney 0-2. Antrim: P Richmond 1-2, B McFall 0-5, J Connelly 0-3, C Hamill 0-2, C Cunning, K McKeegan, M Herron 0-1 each.
Laois: B Campion; John Walsh, P Cuddy, C Healey; M McEvoy, D Rooney, S Dwyer; James Walsh, J Young; J Rowney, L Tynan, T Fitzgerald; P Russell, M Rooney, D Culliton. Subs: C Clear for James Walsh (40), C Coonan for M Rooney (53), E Meagher for Russell (69), C Brophy for Colleton (70)
Antrim: D Quinn; M Kettle, G Bell, B Herron; M McCambridge, K McKeegan, C Herron; C Cunning, J Connelly; B McFall, C Hamill, M Scullion,;J McIntosh, P Richmond, B Quinn. Subs: M Herron for McIntosh (h/t), L Watson for Hamill (46), J Scullion for Quinn (47), J Campbell for M Scullion (60).
Referee: M Wadding (Waterford)
(after extra time)
THERE were over 50 scores as Wicklow ensured their Christy Ring Cup survival with a one-point victory over Derry in an exciting relegation semi-final in Nevan last evening.
After leading by 2-7 to 1-7 at half-time, Derry had to depend on a late leveller from substitute Peadar Quigg to send the tie to an extra 20 minutes.
With Derry midfielder Gregory Biggs in an excellent form from placed balls and Jonathan O'Neill taking some fine scores for Wicklow, the umpires were kept very busy. The sides were on level terms 13 times before Joseph Murphy proved Wicklow's hero when sending over a free at the end of extra time.
Scorers: Wicklow - D Hyland 1-4, J O'Neill 0-6, J Murphy 0-4, W O'Gorman 1-1, L Kennedy, A Tiernan, T Collins & B Rickerby 0-2 each, G Birmingham, P Lee & T J Byrne 0-1 each. Derry - Gregory Biggs 0-12, J O'Dwyer 2-0, F McGuigan 1-0, Gary Biggs, R Kennedy, C Quinn & P Quigg 0-2 each, P O'Kane, P Sweeney & K Kelly 0-1 each
Wicklow: K Barnes; G Birmingham, G Keogh, W Collins; L Kennedy, J Murphy, D Doran; A Tiernan, T Collins; B Rickerby, J O'Neill, C Monaghan; D Hyland, W O'Gorman, P Lee. Sub: T J Byrne for Monaghan
Derry: K Stevenson; F McCloy, L Hinchey, B McGoldrick; C Brunton, M Conway, P O'Kane; Gary Biggs, Gregory Biggs; K Hinchey, R Kennedy, F McGuigan; S McBride, C Quinn, J O'Dwyer. Subs: P Sweeney for McCloy, G Brunton for L Hinchey, K Kelly for Kennedy, P Quiggs for McGuigan, L Hinchey for O'Dwyer
Referee: F Smith (Meath)
FIVE goals in the closing stages boosted Westmeath to a place in the Christy Ring Cup Final at the expense of a disappointing Kildare side in Navan last evening.
Westmeath raced into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead in the opening nine minutes with midfielder Ronan Wheelan netting the first goal following a pass from the impressive Killian Cosgrove. It was 2-4 to 0-4 when Cosgrove put his name on the second goal on 19 minutes and Westmeath went on to lead by 2-10 to 0-7 at the break.
Mattie Dowd kept Kildare in touch with five converted frees in the first half and Andrew Mitchell was proving reliable from placed balls for the men in maroon and white.
It looked as if the game was petering out to a tame conclusion before six goals arrived in the last 12 minutes. John Shaw scored three for Westmeath, for whom Joe Clarke and substitute Daniel Carty also netted. Joe Dempsey grabbed a consolation goal for Kildare.
SCORERS: Westmeath - J Shaw 3-2, A Mitchell 0-5, K Cosgrove, R Wheelan, J Clarke 1-1 each, D Carty 1-0, E Loughin, B Kennedy, D McNicholas, D Devine 0-1 each. Kildare - M Dowd 0-7, A McAndrew 0-3, J Dempsey 1-0, T Carew, D Harney 0-1 each.
Westmeath: M Briody; M Williams, C Murtagh, C Jordan; B Murtagh, D McCormack, B Connaughton; R Wheelan, E Loughlin; G Gavin, J Shaw, A Mitchell; B Kennedy, K Cosgrove, J Clarke. Subs: N Gavin for Connaughton, D Carty for Mitchell, G Fagan for Jordan, D McNicholas for Wheelan, E Devine for Loughlin
Kildare: J Dunney; P Reidy, D Maloney, S Crowe; A Flaherty, D Harney, R Hoban; J Dempsey, T Carew; M Dowd, A Quinn, C Buggy; A McAndrew, R Coyle, K Divilly. Subs: P Keegan for Flaherty, B White for Divilly, M Maloney for Coyle, T Murphy for Carew.
Referee: D Connolly (Kilkenny)