By Shane Brophy
Tipperary cruised to an opening round win in the National Hurling League as they put Laois to the sword at FBD Semple Stadium on Saturday evening.
With Ballingarry clubmen Liam Cahill and William Maher in their first league games in charge of their respective teams, the home side took control early on, helped by a twelfth minute Seamus Kennedy goal.
With the evergreen Patrick Maher pulling the strings from full forward, newcomers Gearoid O’Connor, Sean Ryan, and Cian O’Dwyer impressed, as did John McGrath in his first start after ten months out through injury, as Tipp took a commanding 1-17 to 0-7 lead to the break with O’Connor top-scoring with eight points in the opening half.
The game lost must of its shape in the second half with the destination of the two league points determined but Laois stuck at it with Tomas Keyes impressing at midfield with four points from play, while their subs bench was also impactful, contributing four points, however, Tipp’s added 1-5 with sub Jake Morris scoring their second goal in injury time, one of fourteen different scorers in what was an easy win for the Premier County.
Full report and analysis in next Wednesday's Nenagh Guardian
Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Cathal Barrett (0-1), Michael Breen, Johnny Ryan; Bryan O’Mara, Ronan Maher (0-3, 1f), Brian McGrath (0-1); Noel McGrath (0-1), Conor Stakelum (0-3); Seamus Kennedy (1-1), Gearoid O’Connor (0-11, 0-6f, 0-1 65), Cian O’Dwyer (0-2); John McGrath (0-2), Patrick Maher, Sean Ryan (0-2).
Subs: John Campion (0-1) for Stakelum (38 inj); Mark Kehoe (0-1) for P Maher (51); Jake Morris (1-2) for O’Dwyer (51); Paddy Cadell for N McGrath (60); Conor Bowe (0-1) for J McGrath (62).
Laois: Enda Rowland; Donnchadh Harnett, Padraig Delaney, Padraic Dunne; Jack Kelly, Ryan Mullaney (0-1), Fiachra C Fennell (0-1); Aidan Corby, Tomas Keyes (0-4); Aaron Dunphy, Willie Dunphy, James Keyes (0-2); Stephen Maher, Martin Phelan, PJ Scully (0-6, 5f).
Subs: Ross King (0-1) for W Dunphy (33 inj); Paddy Purcell (0-1) for A Dunphy (HT); James Duggan (0-1) for Phelan (HT); an Shanahan for Corby (58); Liam Senior (0-1) for Maher (60).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)