IT WAS ALL too easy for Waterford as Liam Cahill’s men leathered 13-man Laois by 33 points this afternoon.
2020 All-Star Stephen Bennett scored 3-8 for the goal-hungry hosts while Patrick Curran helped himself to 1-7. Carthach Daly, Austin Gleeson and Ciaran Kirwan also found the net.
Four goals in four minutes at the end of the first half ended the game as a contest.
Kirwan got 1-4 on his first start as he carried on his impressive Fitzgibbon Cup form with WIT. Curran (1-7) and Gleeson (1-3) also looked razor sharp up front. Lismore team mates Carthach Daly and Jack Prendergast combined well at midfield.
Tadhg de Búrca was back at number six for the home side. His first start since the 2020 All Ireland final against Limerick when he suffered the second cruciate knee ligament injury of his career. The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the Clashmore/Kinsalebeg man when he made way after 49 minutes.
With his first touch, he supplied a crossfield pass for a Ciaran Kirwan point.
Austin Gleeson smashed the crossbar with a volley in the sixth minute. He doubled on a ball across the goal from Kirwan. Bennett converted two frees before De Burca assisted Kirwan for his second from play.
On nine minutes, Jack Prendergast won a turnover and passed inside to his Lismore club mate Carthach Daly and he found the net (1-4 to 0-1) for his first senior goal for the Déise.
Stephen Bergin replied for the visitors. Kirwan got his third on 16 minutes. Wind assisted Laois were guilty of five wides in the first quarter. A 65 and a free from Stephen Maher cut the gap to six. Laois shot stopper Enda Rowland saved from Ciaran Kirwan and then nailed a free from his own half. A long-range Ryan Mullaney point left just a goal between them, before Maher then shot his third of the afternoon (1-7 to 0-8).
Jack Prendergast got Waterford’s first for 13 minutes. Substitute Billy Power hit the side netting with Rowland out of his goal. Patrick Curran put over back to back points.
Four goals in four minutes from Liam Cahill’s free shooters put the game beyond the O’Moore men, with the hosts striking 4-4 in the last eight minutes of the opening half to lead 5-12 to 0-11 at the break.
On 32 minutes, Austin Gleeson rattled the top corner of the net much to the delight of the home fans. Jack Prendergast and Carthach Daly combined for Patrick Curran to unleash a shot that dribbled over the line. Stephen Bennett was next to beat Enda Rowland a minute into injury time. Off the next attack, Kirwan walked the ball into the net.
Laois boss Seamus Cheddar Plunkett made a triple substitution at half time but it quickly got worse for the away side as Ben Conroy got his marching orders a minute into the second period for a challenge on Tom Barron.
The contest had a challenge game feel to it as the home side raised white flag after white flag. Only Stephen Maher and Ross King put up any resistance to the tsunami of Waterford scores.
On 58 minutes, Laois full back Sean Downey was dismissed on a black card and Stephen Bennett blasted home the subsequent penalty. His third successful penalty in two weeks. Mark Fitzgerald and Ian Beecher got debut scores for the Déise as they notched their first win of the campaign in facile fashion. Bennett completed his hat trick with his second penalty on 65 minutes.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 3-8 (2-0 pens, 6fs), Patrick Curran 1-7, Ciaran Kirwan 1-4, Austin Gleeson 1-3, Carthach Daly 1-1, Tom Barron 0-2, DJ Foran, Mark Fitzgerald, Ian Beecher, Jack Fagan, Jack Prendergast, Billy Power 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: Stephen Maher 0-8 (5fs, 1 65), Ross King 0-4, Enda Rowland 0-2 (2fs), Ryan Mullaney, Fiachra Fennell, Stephen Bergin, Willie Dunphy, Aidan Corby 0-1 each.
1. Billy Nolan
2. Conor Gleeson
3. Conor Prunty
4. Iarlaith Daly
5. Jack Fagan
6. Tadhg de Búrca
7. Tom Barron
8. Carthach Daly
10. Patrick Curran
9. Jack Prendergast
13. Stephen Bennett
12. DJ Foran
14. Ciaran Kirwan
20. Michael Kiely (Abbeyside)
11. Austin Gleeson
21. Billy Power for Kiely (22)
17. Darragh Lynch for De Búrca (49)
19. Mark Fitzgerald for Austin Gleeson (52)
22. Ian Beecher for Prendergast (55)
24. Darragh Lyons for Prunty (61)
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1. Enda Rowland
2. Diarmuid Conway
3. Sean Downey
4. Donnchadh Hartnett
5. Podge Delaney
6. Liam O’Connell
7. Ryan Mullaney
8. Fiachra Fennell
9. Jack Kelly
10. Stephen Bergin
11. John Lennon
12. Ross King
13. Ben Conroy
14. Willie Dunphy
15. Stephen Maher
21. James Keyes for Lennon (HT)
22. Conor Phelan for Bergin (HT)
23. PJ Scully for Dunphy (HT)
20. Aidan Corby for Kelly (45)
18. Padraic Dunne for Delaney (61)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)
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