All-Ireland GAA Hurling Championship Qualifier Preliminary Round – Cork 10-20 Laois 1-13

Cork demolish Laois

From the Irish Examiner newspaper

Cork 10-20 Laois 1-13

Cork ran riot in the second half of this All-Ireland SHC qualifier as they powered their way to an astonishing 34-point win over Laois. Pat Horgan and Paudie O’Sullivan both scored hat-tricks in this Portlaoise pulverising, Luke O’Farrell notched one and Championship debutants Bill Cooper and Jamie Coughlan (2) also found the net. Willie Hyland’s 28th-minute goal kept Laois in contention at half-time as they trailed by 3-09 to 1-08. But the Rebels, with Horgan amassing 3-10 in all, showed no mercy in the closing 35 minutes.

Denis Walsh’s men completely dominated and took chance after chance against a Laois full-back line that was left hopelessly exposed. They move on to a home game against Offaly next Saturday. Cork had some careless shooting in the opening stages, tallying up four early wides as the midlanders moved 0-04 to 0-02 ahead by the eighth minute. Hyland showed some very good touches, landing a brace of early scores as did the lively Neil Foyle. Horgan, with the benefit of the left hand post, reduced the gap to a single point before Ger Reddin set up John Brophy for Laois’ fifth. The well-placed Patrick Mullaney managed to save a goal-bound shot from O’Sullivan and Laois smuggled the ball clear through John A Delaney after two further blocks. But just moments later, Laois’ rearguard was split open for Horgan to smack home his goal and shoot the visitors ahead at 1-03 to 0-05.

Walsh’s charges pushed on with a second goal, O’Sullivan breaking onto a point attempt that held up in the breeze and rounding Mullaney in impressive fashion. Cork were suddenly taking advantage of the space afforded to them, their half-forwards, particularly Niall McCarthy, coming alive as Horgan (free) and O’Sullivan tagged on points. Hyland and centre-back Matthew Whelan, who thumped a free over from near his own 45, got Laois back in the scoring groove amid a heavy rain shower. Horgan then took his personal haul to 1-03 and O’Farrell was hooked by Conor Dunne just as a third Cork goal seemed likely. O’Farrell’s subsequent ground shot was meat and drink to Mullaney. Hyland raised Laois’ hopes immediately as the ball was cleared downfield and he rose in behind Eoin Cadogan to catch it and rasp his shot past goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack.

The small crowd was lapping up the free-flowing hurling, with Cork finding the ideal response in the form of O’Farrell’s 33rd-minute goal – credit to Horgan for his run and final pass. McCarthy added his second point of the afternoon and Horgan sent a free over into driving rain, before Brophy popped over an injury-time point from near the sideline. Cooper, dusting himself off after a heavy challenge, broke onto a pass from McCarthy to finish the first half’s scoring and restore Cork’s seven-point advantage. Apart from a busy opening minute during which Reddin and Horgan traded scores, the intensity dropped quite substantially in the second half.

The competitiveness went right out of the game. Noel Costelloe pointed to make it 3-10 to 1-10 but Cork, with a considerable breeze now behind them, were soon coasting. Horgan struck three successive points and after a purposeful run from Ben O’Connor and a lapse from the Laois defence, O’Sullivan drove home a 47th minute goal. With Laois’ overworked full-back line struggling to keep up, Horgan added another two minutes later. Points followed from McCarthy and John Gardiner, with a trademark free from distance, and Cooper’s superbly-struck goal gave Cork a 6-15 to 1-10 lead.

Coughlan, who came on as a second half substitute, rounded his man and provided a pinpoint pass for O’Sullivan to complete his hat-trick, and shortly after that Horgan get loose again to register his third goal. Cooper landed a point to move himself onto 1-02 and the one-way traffic continued with a pointed free from Horgan. Laois stopped the rot briefly courtesy of a free from Whelan and a Brophy point from play. The hosts’ defending left a lot to be desired and Cork clinically put their scores away. Newcomer Coughlan turned well to fire the ninth goal past an unfortunate Mullaney. Cork goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack produced an excellent stop to deny Hyland a goal at the other end. There was yet more misery for Hyland’s defensive colleagues when points from Horgan (0-02) and substitute Ronan Curran were followed by a final goal from Coughlan, who was set up by his Newtownshandrum club-mate Ben O’Connor.

Cork will now play Offaly in the next round on Saturday next.

Match Preview

It’s only the second Championship clash between the counties and a first since the 1915 All-Ireland final when Laois, represented by Ballygeehan, beat Cork, represented by Redmonds, on a 6-2 to 4-1 scoreline. The last major clash between the counties was in the 1984 Centenary Cup final which Cork won by 2-21 to 1-9. #

Cork go into the qualifiers off a 3-22 to 0-23 defeat by Tipperary in the Munster quarter final. Patrick Horgan scored 0-13 (0-10 frees) while Ben O’Connor and Niall McCarthy scored 0-3 each as Cork recovered to draw level in the 56th minute before losing out on the home stretch.

Laois lost the Leinster quarter-final to Antrim by 1-21 to 3-12. Laois led by 2-7 to 1-5 at half-time, but Antrim, who had a man sent off five minutes into the second half, staged a spirited recovery to run out three point winners. Willie Hyland was Laois’s top scorer on 1-4.