Steven Miller reports at O’Moore Park
JASON FORDE HELPED himself to 11 points and Mark Kehoe and Jake Morris hit seven between them from play as Tipperary began Colm Bonnar’s reign as manager with a four-point win over Laois in O’Moore Park.
Laois played most of the second half with just 14 men following the sending off of Paddy Purcell but they put up a brave effort before eventually falling short.
The home side were made to rue a host of missed chances when they played with the wind in the opening half, hitting eight wides and missing two decent goal chances.
But Tipp, who have named Ronan Maher as their captain for 2022, were more efficient with their scoring chances even if Jason Forde could only manage a point from a 23rd minute penalty.
Ronan Maher will be the Tipperary Senior Hurling Captain for 2022
— Tipperary GAA (@TipperaryGAA) February 5, 2022
The opening 15 minutes were even enough with Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher landing four points for Laois – including three absolute peaches from play.
Jason Forde was accurate from frees and play for the visitors while Jake Morris and Mark Kehoe also pointed to leave them 0-5 to 0-4 ahead at this point.
Laois then had a great goal chance when Maher played a diagonal ball to Jack Kelly but his low shot was saved by Tipperary keeper Brian Hogan.
And after that Laois seemed to lose their way in front of goal – finishing the half with eight wides to Tipperary’s four – and a second missed goal chance from Willie Dunphy.
Tipperary pushed on through a brace of Forde frees before they were awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute.
Jake Morris broke through and was fouled but Enda Rowland pulled off a wonderful save to flick Jason Forde’s shot over the bar.
But Tipp weren’t rattled by that miss as Mark Kehoe, Jake Morris and Cathal Barrett all pointed before the break.
Laois did grab late scores through Maher and keeper Rowland to leave it 0-11 to 0-7 at half time.
Tipp raced out of the traps when play resumed with four points in the opening three minutes – two from Forde and one each from Morris and Mark Kehoe.
Laois responded with a brace of Maher frees but any chance they had evaporated in the 45th minute when they were reduced to 14 men.
Paddy Purcell appeared to strike Craig Morgan off the ball but referee Sean Cleere initially sent off Ben Conroy.
Conroy protested his innocence and the referee consulted with the linesman before rescinding his red card and brandishing it to Purcell instead.
Laois, though, would have the deficit back to just three points with 50 minutes on the clock.
A 65 from keeper Enda Rowland dropped short but was misjudged by the Tipperary defence and ended up in the net.
Sub James Keyes added a point and Laois had now recovered to leave it 0-16 to 1-10.
Tipperary came again though and Laois keeper Rowland had to be smart to save from Denis Maher as Jason Forde and Mark Kehoe added points.
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James Keyes landed a second from distance though and the score read 0-19 to 1-11 with ten minutes to go.
But Tipp had enough to see it out and finished with four points to spare.
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-11 (six frees, 0-1 pen), Mark Kehoe 0-4, Jake Morris 0-3, Michael Breen 0-2, Cathal Barrett 0-1
Scorers for Laois: Stephen Maher 0-8 (five frees), Enda Rowland 1-3 (1-1 ‘65s, 0-2 frees), James Keyes 0-3
Tipperary: Brian Hogan; Cathal Barrett, James Quigley, Craig Morgan; Dillon Quirke, Seamus Kennedy, Barry Heffernan; Alan Flynn, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Jason Forde, Ger Browne; Mark Kehoe, Denis Maher, Jake Morris. Subs: Conor Stakelum for Morris (46), Paul Flynn for Maher (58), Paddy Cadell for Flynn (65), Ronan Maher for Heffernan (67), Seamus Callanan for Kehoe (69)
Laois: Enda Rowland; Frank Flanagan, Sean Downey, Donnchadh Hartnett; Podge Delaney, Liam O’Connell, Ryan Mullaney; Fiachra C-Fennell, Jack Kelly; Paddy Purcell, John Lennon, Ross King; Ben Conroy, Willie Dunphy, Stephen Maher. Subs: James Keyes for Lennon and Jordan Walshe for Dunphy (both 49), Ciaran Comerford for King (53), Padraic Dunne for Flanagan (56), Aidan Corby for Kelly (69)
Referee: Sean Cleere [Kilkenny]
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