Laois 2-14 Kerry 1-24

Kerry got off to a perfect start in Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League with a 1-24 to 2-14 win over Laois in Portlaoise.

Ciaran Carey’s charges, newly promoted from Division 2A, produced a shock win over the hosts in a game which saw Laois reduced to 14 men following the late dismissal of Charlie Dwyer.

Kerry were strong in this contest throughout and led by 1-11 to 1-10 at half-time, with a Shane Nolan pointed 65 putting the visitors ahead at the break.

The Kingdom started this game brightly with Mikey Boyle striking a 13th-minute goal, while PJ Scully got Laois’s three-pointer in the 32nd minute.

Kerry pulled seven points clear as the game entered the final quarter, but Laois never gave up.

Cahir Healy got through for the hosts’ second goal, but Kerry were hungry and held out for a deserved win.

With the rising tide in Kerry hurling, the visitors were quietly confident of picking up full points against a Laois team with a number of retirements since last year’s championship campaign, including the influential Joe Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fitzgerald, John A Delaney, Brian Stapleton and James Walsh.

Aided by a strong wind, Kerry opened the scoring with a Michael O’Leary point in the second minute before Dwyer equalised for the hosts.

The visitors moved 0-03 to 0-01 ahead after eight minutes, and although Laois took a 0-04 to 0-03 lead in the 12th minute, Kerry were looking good.

Boyle’s goal soon followed, after a high ball inside and he cut behind the Laois defence to hand Kerry a 1-04 to 0-04 lead after 13 minutes.

Laois kept in touch and cut the gap to a point after 21 minutes before Kerry moved four points clear, with John Egan, Shane Nolan and Boyle on target.

The hosts fought back with three unanswered points before a Paddy Kelly score for Kerry.

Scully handed Laois a 1-10 to 1-09 lead after finishing to the net following a good delivery from Ciaran Collier.

Both sides missed goal chances in the closing stages of the half, with Nolan hitting the crossbar for Kerry and Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher also failing to convert.

Kerry finished the half strongly with two unanswered points, including a pointed 65 from Nolan to take a 1-11 to 1-10 interval lead.

Carey’s charges continued their good form on the restart, with John Egan, Harty and O’Leary on target to ensure a 1-14 to 1-10 scoreline after 38 minutes.

A PJ Scully pointed free halted Kerry’s scoring spree, but Kerry continued to impress.

Nolan was deadly accurate from placed balls and with good scores from Jack Goulding, John Griffin and Egan, Kerry held a 1-22 to 1-12 lead after 59 minutes.

Laois rallied, with Healy firing a much-needed goal with six minutes left on the clock.

However, the hosts had too much to do, as Kerry held out for a famous win.

Kerry: Martin Stackpoole; Sean Weir, Bryan Murphy, Keith Carmody; Daniel Collins, Darren Dineen, Tom Murnane; Patrick Kelly (0-02), Tommy Casey; Shane Nolan (0-08, 6f, 1 65  Michael O’Leary, Colm Harty (0-02); John Egan (0-04), Mikey Boyle (1-01), Jack Goulding (0-03).

Subs: John Griffin (0-01) for Dineen (58); Jordan Conway (0-01) for Egan (64)

Laois: Enda Rowland; Oisin Carroll, Darren Maher, Cahir Healy (1-00); Leigh Bergin, Neil Foyle, Ryan Mullaney; Matthew Whelan (0-01), Brendan Reddin; Ciaran Collier (0-02), Stephen Maher (0-01), Patrick Purcell; Dwane Palmer, Charlie Dwyer (0-04), PJ Scully (1-06, 4f, 1 65)

Subs: Joe Phelan for Reddan (46); John Lennon for Whelan (52); Mark Kavanagh for Palmer (56); Tom Delaney for Maher (71)

Referee: Cathal McAlister (Cork)