Laois are the only county with a 100% record after two rounds in the Leinster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Qualifiers, which are played on a round-robin format.
Today (30th April) they defeated Meath by 3-25 to 2-13 at Pairc Tailteann, Navan, while Kerry beat Westmeath at TEG Cusack Park by 0-20 to 2-12.
The results mean that Laois have four points from two games and only a highly unlikely series of outcomes could prevent them from advancing to the quarter-finals, especially as they have a score difference which is far superior than the other three counties.
Score difference comes into play if three or more teams finish level on points. It would become significant, for example, should Kerry beat Laois and Meath overcome Westmeath on Sunday, 14th May. Three teams would then be level on four points each, with only two to go through.
A county could yet claim second place in the group with two points, should Laois keep up their winning run against Kerry and Westmeath pick up two points at home to Meath. Should that happen, Westmeath would actually go through because they would have a better score difference than either Kerry or Meath.
Paddy Purcell was the scoring hero for Laois as he hit a hat-trick of goals between the 20th and 35th minutes, and Eamonn Kelly’s side led by 3-13 to 0-7 at the interval. Stephen Clynch and Joe Keena scored second half goals for Meath, but they had to settle for a heavy defeat.
Meanwhile, Kerry hit the ground running against Westmeath in Mullingar and, backed by the wind, built up a 0-8 to 0-3 advantage by the 15th minute. Niall O’Brien was then sent off for the home side and they trailed by 0-12 to 0-5 at the interval.
With Shane Nolan and Mikey Boyle sharp up front, Kerry continued to hold the upper-hand in the second half. But last quarter goals by Niall Mitchell and Killian Doyle (penalty) gave Westmeath a chance late on, and there were only two points between the teams at the end.
Leinster GAA Senior Hurling Championship Group Table
|LAOIS||2||2||0||0||4-48 (60)||4-30 (42)||+18||4|
|KERRY||2||1||0||1||2-37 (43)||5-32 (47)||– 4||2|
|MEATH||2||1||0||1||5-33 (48)||5-42 (57)||– 9||2|
|WESTMEATH||2||0||0||2||4-29 (41)||1-43 (46)||– 5||0|
Round 1: Meath 3-20, Kerry 2-17; Laois 1-23, Westmeath 2-17
Round 2: Laois 3-25, Meath 2-13; Kerry 0-20, Westmeath 2-12
Round 3 on 14th May: Westmeath v Meath; Kerry v Laois