Young stars but Laois struggle to impress
LAOIS 1-13 MEATH 0-8 Leinster SHC PAUDIE BUTLER'S Laois hurlers progressed to a quarter-final meeting with Offaly but will need to improve if they are to trouble their neighbours in two weeks time after this comfortable victory at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise yesterday.
Played in ideal conditions the hurling certainly did not match the weather.
Laois who had an impressive league campaign followed by an impressive championship showing against Carlow were confidently expected to account for the visitors.
However, after a bright opening half the home side faded and were lucky that the final scoreline was not a lot more tight.
Sharpshooter James Young put Laois ahead after one minute but Meath under-21 star Stephen Clynch had the sides level after five minutes.
Then a brilliant save by Meath's goalkeeper denied Tommy Fitzgerald a certain goal after eight minutes but Laois went on to register seven unanswered points, four from the stick of Young.
Twenty minutes into the game Damian Culleton made a brilliant incisive move before switching the sliotar to to the unmarked Young who made no mistake from close range.
Mark Gannon scored Meath's second point after 25 minutes before the Royals introduced Mickey Cole who finished the half with two excellent points to leave the home side leading 1-9 to 0-4 at the interval.
On the changeover Young stretched the Laois lead with a point from a free and Robert Jones added another and it looked at this stage as if Laois would run riot but a long range point from Evan Lynam rallied Meath.
Robert Jones replied for Laois who moved ten points clear, 1-12 to 0-5.
The final quarter saw a vastly improved performance by Meath as Laois took their foot of the gas.
Cole and left half-back Seán Reilly had two points in as many minutes before Lynam added a third but that was to be as good as it got for the visitors and the final score of the game went to Laois right half-forward Jones.
Laois now face Offaly in O'Connor Park, Tullamore on May 29 in the quarter-finals.
SCORERS - Laois: J Young 1-6 (0-5f), R Jones 0-4, Paul Cuddy (0-1f), E Meagher, T Fitzgerald 0-1 each. Meath: M Cole 0-3 (0-2f), E Lynam 0-2, S Clynch, S Reilly (0-1f), M Gannon 0-1 each.
LAOIS - K Galvin; C Cuddy, Pat Cuddy, M McEvoy; J Fitzpatrick, Paul Cuddy, R Conroy; D Rooney, J Walsh; R Jones, J Young, E Meagher; T Fitzgerald, L Tynam, D Culleton. Subs: E Browne for Meagher, James Dunne for Rooney.
MEATH - M Brennan; S White, P Roche, S Moran; D Brennan, T Reilly, S Reilly; J Canty, D Donnelly; E Lynam, S Clynch, M Burke; N Reilly, M Gannon, T Fox. Subs: M Cole for Burke, G O'Neill for Fox, P Donoghue for Moran.
REF - J Kelly (Wexford).
MAN OF THE MATCH - Joe Fitzpatrick (Laois).
MOVE OF THE MATCH - Damien Culleton's solo run when he placed James Young for the game's only goal after 20 minutes of the first half.