Billy Drennan goals send Kilkenny on way to emphatic Walsh Cup win over Laois
Two first-half goals from Billy Drennan helped Kilkenny to a 13-point Walsh Cup win over Laois at Rathdowney as Derek Lyng continued his successful start as the new Cats manager.
Cheered on by a large home crowd and buoyed by a win over Wexford last week, Laois got off to a good start, scoring the first three points of the game and leading for the first 20 minutes.
Freetaker PJ Scully was on top form (a highlight being two quality sideline cuts), while goaltender Enda Rowland also bombed over a couple of long-range frees.
But a relatively strong Kilkenny side (albeit without the Ballyhale Shamrocks contingent) slowly came to terms with Laois, with Walter Walsh leveling things and John Donnelly pushing them forward.
Billy Drennan’s goal in the 23rd minute brought some daylight between the sides, although they were level again within minutes when Ross King found the net for Laois and Ryan Mullaney showed from long-range.
Drennan scored the second goal just before half-time after a great run from Niall Brennan and Kilkenny were 2-16-1-14 at the break.
Kilkenny controlled the second half as they extended an unassailable lead, with Sub Gearoid Dunne scoring their third goal in the 54th minute.
Stephen Bergin responded with a goal for Laois but it was too little too late with Kilkenny comfortably holding on.
Goalscorers – Kilkenny: B Drennan 2-4 (0-2 f), C Kenny, W Walsh and J Donnelly 0-4 each, G Dunne 1-1, N Brennan, P Deegan and A Murphy (1f) each 0-3, P Cody 0 -2, D Dunne, I Byrne and D Blanchfield each 0-1. Laois: PJ Scully 0-8 (5f, 2s/c), Enda Rowland (3f), J Keyes and R Mullaney 0-3 each, S Bergin and R King 1-0 each, M Phelan, A Dunphy, C Rigney and J Kelly each 0:1.
Kilkenny: D Brennan; N Rowe, H Lawlor, E Cody; D Dunne, D Blanchfield, P Walsh; Kenny C, Murphy A; N Brennan, P Cody, P Deegan; B Drennan, J Donnelly, B Sheehan. Subtitle: G Dunne for Sheehan (HT), A Murphy for Kenny (45), T Phelan for P Deegan (52), I Byrne for Drennan (55), N Rowe for Butler (59), N Mullins for Buckley (60), E Landy for Brennan (65), D O’Neill for Dunne (66), S Staunton for P Cody (67), A Tallis for D Brennan (67).
Laois: Enda Rowland; P Delaney, D Hartnett, P Dunne; J. Kelly, R. Mullaney, Fennell FC; J Keyes, A Corby; R King, W Dunphy, J Walshe; A Dunphy, M Phelan, PJ Scully. Subtitle: G Lynch for C-Fennell (32), A Bergin for W Dunphy (45), S Bergin for Walshe (50), P Hyland for Corby (60), C C-Fennell for King (61), C Rigney for Phelan ( 63), N Coss for Dunne (66).
Referee: K Brady (Louth).