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NHL Division 2: Goals prove the difference as Laois hold out to defeat dogged Down

Monday 5th February 2024

Down came close to picking up a shock win to kick off this year’s Allianz Hurling League, but ultimately it was Laois who picked up victory at Laois Hire O’Moore Park, thanks to a dominant finish.

Throughout the first half, the game progressed along predicted lines, with Down working hard and getting some good scores, but just not quite keeping pace. Points from Maher, Willie Dunphy and league debutant Jer Quinlan kept Laois in the lead, with Quinlan also putting name on an excellent goal. Pearse Og McCrickard and Mark Fisher responded for the Mourne men, who still trailed by 1-12 to 0-8 at the break.

It was all change after half-time, with the visitors posting the first five points, exerting huge pressure on their hosts.

Quinlan gave Laois a bit more breathing space with another score for the home side, but Down had reduced Laois’s lead to a single point by the 56th minute, when Dunphy was sent off for the midlanders.

The numbers were evened out when Down’s Mark Fisher was also red carded after 60 minutes. The margin remained tight until a Mark Dowling goal gave Laois enough breathing room to kick on and record a 2-18 to 0-17 win.