Gutsy Laois end Dublin's reign
Laois 2-14 Dublin 1-14: THIS GAME was switched to O’Moore Park because of a water -logged pitch in Rathdowney, and Dublin, making their first competitive appearance since going under to Tipperary by four points in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final, fielded just three of that starting line-up.
Laois made four changes from the side that accounted for DIT after extra-time the previous week and in atrocious conditions the visitors surrendered their hard-earned title.
Dublin opened the scoring with a Ryan O’Dwyer point after 30 seconds and after Willie Dunphy equalised, Shane Stapleton – their top scorer – edged the holders back in front. But Laois’s Willie Hyland then produced the next three points in a row to put his side in front and they were never headed again.
The turning point of the half saw Hyland place a sideline ball to Tom Fitzgerald and he turned his marker to hammer the ball to the Dublin net. At the interval the home team led 1-8 to 0-6, Stapleton accounting for four of the Dublin’s points.
Laois got a dream start on the resumption when Mick McEvoy placed Tom Fitzgerald for his second goal and John Brophy put nine between the teams after 40 minutes.
Anthony Daly sprung Paul Ryan and former All Star Alan McCrabbe, the latter scoring a brilliant goal with seven minutes remaining. A point by Stapleton left Dublin just two points adrift but, despite their best efforts, Laois hung on and a late point by Tom Fitzgerald completed a fine victory for the home team who now face Galway next weekend.
LAOIS:D Hanlon; P Mullaney, D Maher, B Smyth; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, C Dunne; J Walsh, B Dunne; J Brophy (0-2), M McEvoy (0-1), W Hyland (0-8); D O’Mahoney, T Fitzgerald (2-1), W Dunphy (0-1). Subs: C Murray (0-1) for D O’Mahoney (53 mins), Eoin Holohan for M McEvoy (65 mins).
DUBLIN:A Nolan; R Traynor, C O’Brien, J McCaffrey (0-1); R Walsh, J Boland, C Clinton; D Sutcliffe, S Stapleton (0-8); D O’Dwyer (0-1), C McCormack, S Ryan; C McBride (0-2), R O’Dwyer (0-2), E Dillon. Subs: A McCrabbe (1-0) for S Ryan (half-time), P Carton for E Dillon (55 mins), P Ryan for C McCormack (56 mins).
Referee:P O’Dwyer (Carlow).