Kilkenny 2-28 Laois 0-17
Kilkenny grabbed their second win in Division 1B of the national hurling league after they ran out 17 point winners over Laois at Nowlan Park on Sunday.
Goals in each half from Kilkenny newcomer Tom Phelan set the Cats up for victory and Brian Cody's team kicked on with an impressive second half display as they outscored their opponents 2-16 to 0-6 as they cruised to an emphatic win.
Playing with the aid of a strong breeze in the opening period Laois started the better and quickly moved into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after Jack Kelly and Stephen Maher registered a pair of points each.
Phelan then struck for a well taken sixth minute goal with Cillian Buckley and Martin Keoghan influential in the three point score.
That levelled up matters and through Alan Murphy’s accuracy from frees - where he scored 10 in total - the home side began to get on top.
Billy Ryan and Martin Keoghan were also a major threat up front for Kilkenny and while Laois stayed in touch with points from Kelly, Ross King and goalkeeper Enda Rowland, it was the Cats that led 1-12 to 0-11 by the half-time whistle.
Alan Murphy and Enda Rowland exchanged frees at the beginning of the second half but it wasn’t long until Kilkenny took complete control as they notched 1-5 without reply to move clear on the scoreboard.
Points from Ryan and Keoghan were soon added to when Phelan scored his second goal in the 47th minute.
By that stage Kilkenny had opened up a 2-17 to 0-12 lead and it was plain sailing from that point on all the way to the final whistle.
The response from Laois came courtesy of James Keyes, King and Ciaran Byrne but with Kilkenny stopper Eoin Murphy denying the Midlanders a couple of goal chances, it was always going to be a mountain to climb to get back into the game.
That's how it turned out with Kilkenny subs James Maher and John Walsh adding points before the end.
The Cats will now face into a clash with unbeaten Dublin next Saturday while Laois meet Antrim in a crucial clash at the bottom of the table.
Kilkenny: E Murphy; M Butler, T Walsh, M Carey; N Brassil, P Deegan, D Blanchfield (0-1); C Kenny, J Donnelly; W Walsh (0-1), C Buckley (0-2), T Phelan (2-1); B Ryan (0-4), M Keoghan (0-4), A Murphy (0-13, 0-10 frees).
Subs: C Heary for Brassil, J Maher (0-1) for Donnelly (both h-t), J Bergin for Keoghan (56 mins), S Murphy for Buckley (64 mins), J Walsh (0-1) for WWalsh (65 mins).
Laois: E Rowland (0-2 frees); D Conway, S Downey, F Flanagan; P Delaney (0-1), L O'Connell, R Mullaney (0-1); F Fennell (0-1), J Kelly (0-3); P Purcell, J Lennon, R King (0-3, 0-1 frees); J Keyes (0-2), C Dwyer, S Maher (0-3 frees).
Subs: P Dunne for Flanagan (h-t), C Phelan for Lennon, C Comerford for Maher (both 45 mins), C Byrne (0-1) for Dwyer (52 mins), E Killeen for O’Connell (58 mins).
Referee: R Fitzsimons (Offaly).