/ GAA

Laois 4-18 Carlow 3-11

Updated: Saturday, 09 Aug 2008 18:56

Willie Hyland played a key role in Laois' victory with a personal haul of 1-05
Willie Hyland played a key role in Laois' victory with a personal haul of 1-05

Willie Hyland top-scored with 1-05 as Laois held onto their Liam McCarthy Cup status with a win in today's promotion/relegation play-off at Dr Cullen Park.

Carlow, the newly-crowned Christy Ring Cup champions, trailed by 3-11 to 1-05 at half-time.

Hyland, Dayne Peacock and Tommy Fitzgerald notched the Laois goals, with Mark Brennan grabbing Carlow's early goal.

A 39th-minute goal from Craig Doyle and a 1-02 haul in injury-time, which included a Des Murphy goal, reduced the arrears for Carlow, but there was no denying the visitors.

Those goals proved crucial for Niall Rigney's Laois side as a strong second quarter display helped them to an eventual ten-point win in tough conditions.

Clearly inspired by last week's Christy Ring Cup final win over Westmeath, the hosts started strongly but Laois battled hard to lead from the 14th-minute onwards, once Hyland netted from a 21-metre free.

Carlow had led by 1-01 to 0-1 after five minutes, thanks to a Mark Brennan goal.

Yet Laois kept in touch, and once Hyland slammed home his goal, it paved the way for the O'Moore men to assert their control.

Laois also benefited from strong defensive display from half-backs Michael McEvoy and John A Delaney.

Carlow, to their credit, kept in touch and centre-forward Colin Hughes converted three first half points, including two from placed balls.

The Barrowsiders were unlucky not to find the back of the Laois net in the 24th minute, with Craig Doyle bearing down on goal.

But Laois goalkeeper Patrick Mullaney stepped in to deny the Erin's Own clubman.

Laois held Carlow scoreless in the final 12 minutes of the opening half, as they added 2-05 without reply to ensure a sizeable gap between the sides at the break.

Jim Greene's Carlow charges began the second half in strong fashion, with Doyle batting home a goal.

Laois responded well with the elusive Peacock in superb form - he hit two excellent points from play to ensure a 3-13 to 2-06 lead.

Carlow's centre-back Shane Kavanagh kept them in contention, with some fine long range points.

And although they finished strongly, with a glut of injury-time scores, it was mere consolation against a Laois outfit that were deserving winners.

LAOIS: P Mullaney; D Maher, C Healy, B Campion; C Coonan, M McEvoy J A Delaney; J Phelan (0-02), J Walsh (0-02); C Delaney (0-01), E Holohan, W Hyland (1-05, 0-01f); T Fitzgerald (1-02), J Brophy (0-03, 0-01f), D Peacock (1-02).

Subs used: N Costello for Delaney (49 mins), N Holmes (1-01) for Fitzgerald (55), J Rowney for Holohan (60), S Hanlon for Peacock (69).

CARLOW: D Miley; A Gaule, D Shaw, J Rodgers; E Coady, S Kavanagh (0-03, 0-02f, 0-01 '65'), P Kehoe; D Roberts, A Brennan; R Dunbar, C Hughes (0-03, 0-02f), M Brennan (1-01); B Lawler, R Foley (0-01), C Doyle (1-02).

Subs used: S Murphy (0-01) for Dunbar, K English for Lawler (both half-time), J Hickey for Hughes (51 mins), D Murphy (1-00) for English (65), D Byrne for Gaule (69).

Referee: Denis Richardson (Limerick)