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Whelan’s goals crucial as sluggish Galway see off Laois

Two first-half goals from Conor Whelan proved crucial as All Ireland champions Galway did just enough to see off the brave challenge of Laois in O’Moore Park.

For the second week in a row, Galway were sluggish and following on from last weekend’s unimpressive win over Antrim, they were put to the pin of their collar by Laois for long stages.

The home side, inspired by captain Ross King who hit 12 points, put in a fine display and could point to the controversial sending off of James Ryan just before half time as a huge moment in the match.

Ryan picked up a second yellow in the same off-the-ball incident that saw Galway’s Greg Lally sent off – but he furiously protested his innocence amid claims of mistaken identity.

Whelan’s second goal moments later helped the visitors to a 2-6 to 0-10 half-time lead that they scarcely deserved.

A string of King frees had Laois level by the 45th minute but Galway had that greater scoring power that proved crucial and a run of scores from Conor Cooney, Joe Cooney, Padraig Mannion, Sean Linnane, Aidan Harte and Whelan was enough to help them maintain their winning start.

Laois: E Rowland (0-1,f); D Hartnett, L Bergin, L Cleere; P Lawlor, M Whelan, E Killeen (0-1); P Purcell, J Ryan; A Corby, B Conroy, C Taylor; R King (0-12, 7f, 1’65), N Foyle, W Dunphy (0-2). Subs: J Keyes for Corby (ht), S Downey for Taylor (ht), M Kavanagh (0-1) for Conroy (52), P McCane for Foyle (56), J Phelan for Cleere (67)

Galway: J Skehill; A Tuohy, J Hanbury, S Bannon; G Lally, P Mannion (0-3, 2f), A Harte (0-4, 1f); J Coen (0-1), P Breheny (0-1); S Linnane (0-1), J Cooney (0-3), C Mannion;  C Whelan (2-1), C Cooney (0-3, 1f), D Glennon (0-1). Subs: B Concannon for C Mannion (50), N Burke for C Cooney (59), S Cooney for Linnane (60)

Referee: P Murphy (Carlow)

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