Colm Bonnar’s reign as Tipperary manager off to winning start in Laois

Jason Forde helped himself to 11 points in four point win over their 14-man hosts

Tipperary 0-21 Laois 1-14

Colm Bonnar’s reign as Tipperary hurling manager got off to a winning start in Portlaoise as his side had four points to spare over 14-man Laois.

Jason Forde helped himself to 11 points and Mark Kehoe and Jake Morris hit seven between them from play as Tipp had just enough to see off a Laois side that played most of the second half with 14 men following the sending off of Paddy Purcell.

The home side were made to rue a host of missed chances when they played with the wind in the opening half, hitting eight wides and missing two decent goal chances.

But Tipp were more efficient with their scoring chances even if Forde could only manage a point from a 23rd minute penalty.

Tipp led 0-11 to 0-7 at the break after playing against the breeze in the first half but raced out of the traps when play resumed with four points in the opening three minutes - two from Forde and one each from Morris and Mark Kehoe.

Laois responded with a brace of Maher frees but any chance they had evaporated in the 45th minute when they were reduced to 14 men.

Paddy Purcell appeared to strike Craig Morgan off the ball but referee Sean Cleere initially sent off Ben Conroy.

Conroy protested his innocence and the referee consulted with the linesman before rescinding his red card and brandishing it to Purcell instead.

Laois, though, would have the deficit back to just three points with 50 minutes on the clock. A 65 from keeper Enda Rowland dropped short but was misjudged by the Tipperary defence and ended up in the net.

Substitute James Keyes added a point and Laois had now recovered to leave it 0-16 to 1-10.

Tipperary came again though and Laois goalkeeper Rowland had to be smart to save from Denis Maher as Jason Forde and Mark Kehoe added points.

James Keyes landed a second from distance though and the score read 0-19 to 1-11 with 10 minutes to go.

But Tipp had enough to see it out and finished as four-point winners. They now have a week to recover before facing Kilkenny in Thurles next Sunday. Laois's tough start to the season continues with a trip to Waterford.

TIPPERARY: B Hogan; C Barrett (0-1), J Quigley, C Morgan; D Quirke, S Kennedy, B Heffernan; A Flynn, M Breen (0-2); D McCormack, J Forde (0-11, 0-6 frees, 0-1 penalty), G Browne; M Kehoe (0-4), D Maher, J Morris (0-3). Subs: C Stakelum for Morris (46 mins), P Flynn for Maher (58 mins), P Cadell for Flynn (65 mins), R Maher for Heffernan (67 mins), S Callanan for Kehoe (69 mins).

LAOIS: E Rowland (1-3, 1-1 '65s, 0-2 fress); F Flanagan, S Downey, D Hartnett; P Delaney, L O'Connell, R Mullaney; F C-Fennell, J Kelly; P Purcell, J Lennon, R King; B Conroy, W Dunphy, S Maher (0-8, 0-5 frees). Subs: J Keyes (0-3) for Lennon and J Walshe for Dunphy (both 49 mins), C Comerford for King (53 mins), P Dunne for Flanagan (56 mins), A Corby for Kelly (69 mins).

Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).

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