First half goals propel Laois to victory

April 08, 2007
Four first half goals sent Laois on their way to a six-point victory over Kerry in the NHL Division 2 quarter-final at the Gaelic Grounds. Laois….4-15 Kerry.…4-9 Damien Fox's charges, who will now face midland rivals Westmeath in the semi-final, blitzed the Kingdom early on with a flurry of scores and went into the break leading by 4-6 to 1-3. But following a series of changes during and after the interval, Kerry staged a spirited recovery. However, star attacker John Mike Dooley's third goal came too late to save them. Laois came flying out of the traps and within a minute Tommy Fitzgerald had the ball in the Kerry net. The Munster side were badly exposed in the full back on numerous occasions in the opening half and further majors from Jason Phelan, Matthew Whelan and John Brophy enabled Laois to build up a big lead. Dooley replied with a goal for a shell-shocked Kerry side that would have been further in arrears at half-time had Laois not shot nine wides. Kerry restarted with three unanswered points per Mike Slattery (two) and Dooley, but a Jason Phelan brace kept the O'Moore County firmly in the driving seat. The Kerry comeback began in earnest when Dooley grabbed his second goal in the 44th minute and the same player came close to adding two more from close-in frees with Laois 'keeper Pat Munnelly denying him on both occasions. Laois, however, continued to rack up the points with efforts from Phelan (two), Whelan (two), James Young and Fitzgerald draining the confidence from their opponents. Dooley completed his hat-trick late on before Jason Casey added a point, but Laois never looked like being caught. Laois: P Munnelly; B Campion, B Ferns, K Fitzpatrick; J Fitzpatrick (0-2), J Young (0-1), J Walsh; J Phelan, M McEvoy (0-1); W Hyland, M Whelan (1-4), J Brophy (1-0); P Russell (0-1), T Fitzgerald (1-2), J Phelan (1-4). Subs used: S Dollard for Ferns, JJ McHugh for Brophy, S Dwyer for Hyland, E Jackman for Phelan. Kerry: J Healy; J Griffin, L Boyle (1-0), A O'Connor; B O'Sullivan, M Quilter, C Harris; J Casey (0-1), M Lynch; A Keane, G O'Brien, I McCarthy; M Slattery (0-5, 5f), JM Dooley (3-1), M Conway (0-1). Subs used: B Blackwell for O'Connor, J Egan (0-1) for Lynch, M Boyle for McCarthy. Referee: James Owens (Waterford).

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