/ GAA

Galway 1-26 Laois 0-09

Updated: Wednesday, 06 Aug 2008 02:44

Galway's Cyril Donnellan and Willie Hyland of Laois battle for possession
Galway's Cyril Donnellan and Willie Hyland of Laois battle for possession

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Midfielder Adrian Cullinane scored 1-02 as Galway's All-Ireland charge gathered further pace this afternoon with a comfortable SHC second round qualifier win over Laois in Salthill

Cullinane bulged the net in the 31st-minute and additional points from Alan Kerins, Joe Canning and Cullinane put the hosts 1-14 to 0-06 ahead at half-time.

The gulf in class was too obvious despite the best efforts of Laois’ John Brophy and Noel Costello (0-03 each).

The second half was a tame affair with Galway's teenage star Canning taking his personal tally to 0-09.

Five of Galway's starting six forwards were on target as the Tribesmen cut loose for their second big win in the space of a week - they had 26 points to spare over Antrim last Saturday.

Laois certainly felt the pressure of a rampant Galway attack, and under interim boss Niall Rigney the midlanders faced an uphill challenge to bounce back from the turmoil of recent weeks.

Their championship campaign seemed to crumble as they lost to Offaly in the Leinster championship and subsequently lost their manager Damien Fox, who departed following disappointing turn-outs at training by his players.

But this was a spirited performance by a Laois side who were keen to bounce back and show their mettle following those disappointments.

With dual player Cahir Healy back in the starting fifteen, the O'Moore men came into this game confident of producing a respectable result.

And they showed some early quality, only trailing by 0-04 to 0-02 after 12 minutes, with Noel Costello and John Rowney both taking points, while Ger Farragher, Damien Hayes, Alan Kerins and Andy Smith claimed the home side's scores.

Indeed, Laois were marshalling strongly at the back with Healy and Brian Campion performing particularly well.

Although he scored nine points in this game, it was a reasonably quiet encounter for Joe Canning, with the Portumna youngster held scoreless until the 24th-minute, when his first point propelled Galway into a 0-08 to 0-05 lead.

Two quick points in succession from Iarla Tannian gave Ger Loughnane's side a double scores lead, but Laois were not going to lie down easily and their roving forward John Brophy was able to cut the deficit to four points within a minute.

Brophy was also unfortunate not to grab the game's first goal, when with the rain pelting down he broke through and was just crowded out by two Galway defenders as the chance went a-begging.

Cullinane made no mistake when he rifled home the only goal of the game soon after, giving his side a 1-11 to 0-6 lead.

On the stand side, the centre-fielder was picked out by Ger Farragher and 15 yards out to the left of the posts, he was able to blast past Laois stopper Patrick Mullaney.

Galway failed to let up before the interval with points from Kerins, Canning and Cullinane ensuring an 11-point buffer for them at the turnaround.

Laois would have certainly welcomed that half-time break, with Galway firing from all angles in the closing minutes of the first half.

But any hopes of Laois staging a comeback on the restart were quickly dispelled as the Tribesmen continued where they left off in the opening period.

Points from Smith and Hayes, along with a trio of Joe Canning points, left the score at 1-19 to 0-06, within 15 minutes of the restart.

It was Laois' best forward Brophy who gave the visitors their first point of the second half in the 53rd-minute, with his third score of the contest.

Brophy, Willie Hyland and full-forward Eoin Holohan kept Laois ticking on the scoreboard. But the game was over as a contest as 15 points separated the sides with as many minutes remaining.

Galway mercilessly continued to pile on the pressure and the in-rushing Canning had a good chance to add to Laois' woes with a 58th-minute goal effort.

However, the 19-year-old had to watch his shot come off the upright and slip wide of the target after some decent pressure by the Laois defence.

Galway pulled away at the finish, outscoring Laois by five points to none in the closing 12 minutes as they set up a meeting with the winners of Cork v Dublin or Limerick v Offaly.

Hammered but far from disgraced, Laois will have to regroup for a relegation play-off clash with Antrim in two weeks' time. The losers of that will play the Christy Ring Cup champions to decide the final placings for next year's Liam McCarthy Cup.

Galway: J Skehill; D Joyce, F Moore, O Canning; S Kavanagh, J Lee, D Forde; A Cullinane (1-02), A Smith (0-02); A Kerins (0-03), C Donnellan, I Tannian (0-02); D Hayes (0-04), G Farragher (0-04, 0-02f), J Canning (0-09, 0-04f).
Subs used: N Healy for Donnellan (27 mins), C Dervan for Moore (34), K Wade for N Healy (40), F Healy for Kerins (48), R Murray for Smith (62).

Laois: P Mullaney; J A Delaney, B Campion, D Maher; C Healy, James Walsh, J Phelan; C Delaney, C Coonan; J Rowney (0-01), J Brophy (0-03), N Costello (0-03, 0-03f); N Holmes, E Holohan (0-01), W Hyland (0-01).
Subs used: M McEvoy for Rowney (44 mins), E Browne for Coonan (64).

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)


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