Minors make bad start
Wexford were no match for a direct, powerful Laois in their opening fixture in Group 2 of the Leinster Minor football league at the Halo Tiles and Bathrooms Ferns Centre Of Excellence on Saturday.
Laois 4-15 Wexford 0-6
With St. Peter's and Good Counsel both in hurling semi-final action, the hosts were more than a little short and it told as the visitors completely controlled the game and were not flattered by the result.
Ciarán Comerford was the stand-out performer for Laois, tearing Wexford to ribbons through the centre, first as a midfielder, then as centre-forward and later as an unplayable number 14.
That's pretty much how Laois won this game - right through the heart of the Slaneysiders they dominated. The hosts got over-run through the middle, with the clever off-the-ball movement of their opponents proving difficult to curtail.
Wexford actually went close to a third-minute goal when Philip Rawson's speculative effort clanked the outside of the post. The home side were 0-2 to nil down when Michael Molloy was fouled and he popped over the resulting close-range free.
The pattern of the game as well established at 0-4 to 0-1 but Wexford did pull a point back when Andrew Harrington registered from Murphy's feed in the twelfth minute.
Laois didn't hang around. From the resulting kick-out Ronan McEvoy and Mark Barry combined to release Alan Kinsella, and he gave Darragh Brooks no chance with a rocket high to the Wexford net.
A Murphy point from Conor O'Toole's handpass was the sum of their side's second quarter scores. Laois kept chipping away and built a 1-7 to 0-3 interval advantage that swelled to ten points seven minutes after the re-start.
Midway through the second-half, two Comerford goals in just under 60 seconds ended any hopes of a dramatic comeback as Laois moved further clear. Wexford finally registered their opening point of the half in the 49th minute through substitute Byron Byrne.
Philip Rawson capped an energetic display with a nice point with eight minutes remaining. The raft of substitutes halted Laois progress a bit, but Seán O'Flynn did fire home their fourth major with four minutes left.
Michael Molloy, one of the likely championship starters in this side, added a late free to end a disappointing afternoon for Wexford. Next up is another home tie, this time against Cork, on Saturday.
Wexford: Darragh Brooks; David Roche, Adam Hogan, Mark Power; Killian Pierce, Jamie Thomas, Matthew Banville; Cormac Rowe, Peadair Cowman; Jack Doyle, Philip Rawson (0-1), Dean Doyle; Andrew Harrington (0-1), Michael Molloy (capt., 0-3. 2 frees), Conor O'Toole. Subs. - Robert Cloney for Banville (31), J.P. Farrell for O'Toole (39), Enda Minogue for Pierce (40), Ed Dunbar for Harrington (42), Byron Byrne (0-1) for J. Doyle (46), Jack Quinn for Brooks (54), Colm Parnell for Power, also Martin Ryan.
Laois: Tom McCann; Michael Dowling, Gary Saunders, Daniel Comerford; Cian Langford, Seán O'Flynn (1-1), Colin Slevin (0-1); Ciarán Comerford (2-7, 0-4 frees), John Rodgers; Mark Barry (0-2), Alan Kinsella (capt., 1-0), Ronan McEvoy (0-2); Jason Maher (0-1), Niall Dunne, Damien McCaul. Subs. - Seamus Lacey for McCaul (31), Dean Brophy for Kinsella (31), Podge Delaney for Dowling (48), Eoin Dunne (0-1) for N. Dunne (48), Cathal Duggan for Maher (52), Seamus McEvoy for Saunders (55).
Referee: Noel McKenna (Kildare)