Dublin 2-28 Laois 1-15
Youthful Laois ran out of steam against a determined Dublin side who delivered a strong second half to earn their place in this morning's All-Ireland SHC Round 2 qualifier draw, with a 16-point win at a sunny Parnell Park on Saturday.
A 41st-minute Eamon Dillon goal helped Ger Cunningham's side on their way to shaking off the visitors, many of whom played under-21 hurling this summer, with key players such as Ross King and Stephen Maher among many others absent for the O'Moores.
It was the boost Dublin hurling needed, and, while small-ball aficionados in the capital crave a long summer, Cunningham urged afterwards a game-by-game approach.
“The Leinster Championship is over, so next week is a new day,” he said. “We aren’t looking at a long summer; all we are looking at is next Saturday night.”
There are certainly plenty of pluses for Dublin to suggest more positive days lie ahead, after this win over Laois. Just seven points of their 2-28 tally came from frees.
Ten players were on target, including substitutes Fergal Whitely, David O'Callaghan and John Hetherton, who scored five points between them, with the latter pair both introduced within the final 10 minutes of regulation time.
The sides were tied on four occasions in the opening half, and also early on the restart, before Dublin gradually pulled away.
Cunningham’s charges contained Laois to just two points in second-half normal time, after a bright opening by the visitors.
Laois led for the bulk of the first half, with fine performances throughout from Leigh Bergin, Patrick Purcell, Ciaran Collier, Cahir Healy and Mark Kavanagh, before Dublin got on top.
Dillon’s goal put Dublin into a 1-14 to 0-13 lead, and saw them score 2-14 unanswered, including a second goal from “Trollier”.
Laois finished with 14 men after a second yellow card for Healy in the final quarter.
The O'Moores finished this game with an unanswered 1-2 in injury-time including a goal from keeper Enda Rowland, but Dublin claimed a 16-point win.
Laois manager Eamon Kelly was pretty pleased despite being on the wrong side of the result.
“These are as honest a bunch of guys that I have ever worked with. We’re disappointed with the scoreline but they give you everything,” he said. “Everyone tried and everyone gave what they had.
“We were down seven of the players who started during the qualifiers, and a lot of them were forwards, so we were short some firepower.
"But we have some serious warriors, too. Matthew Whelan and Cahir Healy were outstanding there today and we need to hold on to these fellas."
He added, “It is very difficult to ask any guy to step straight out of minor and into senior but they did. And we’re going to back these fellas. They’ll get a good winter of training into them and they will learn from this.”
DUBLIN: C Dooley; C O'Callaghan, E O'Donnell, F Ó Riain Broin; S Moran, C Crummey, S Barrett (0-1); B Quinn (0-3), N McMorrow (0-1); D Burke (0-2), L Rushe, E Dillon (2-4); C O'Sullivan (0-3), R O'Dwyer, D Treacy (0-9, 6f). Subs: F Whitely (0-2) for McMorrow (48); D O'Callaghan (0-2) for O'Sullivan (60); F McGibb for Burke (62); T Connolly for Moran (64); J Hetherton (0-1, 1f) for O'Dwyer (64).
LAOIS: E Rowland (1-1, 1-1f); D Palmer, L Bergin, L Cleere; E Killeen, M Whelan (0-1), R Mullaney; P Purcell (0-5), C Collier (0-1); C Healy, S Downey, J Kelly; N Foyle, A Dunphy, M Kavanagh (0-6, 2f). Subs: C Taylor (0-1) for Kelly (HT); A Corby for A Dunphy (53); S Bergin for Downey (56); D Hartnett for Killeen (71); P Lawlor for Collier (71).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).