Galway learn little from giving abject Laois a hiding

Galway half forward Paul Flaherty is chased by Ryan Mullaney and Paddy Whelan of Laois during Sunday's National Hurling League tie at Pearse Stadium.

Galway 3-31

Laois 1-11

THERE have been some mis-matches between Galway and Laois over the years but this 26-point hammering of the Midlanders in Division 1B of the National Hurling League at Pearse Stadium on Sunday underlined what a farce this competition can be at times.

Galway, stung by the manner of their defeat to Wexford, and, no doubt, the criticism that followed, arrived for this one fully focused and, in doing so, delivered a polished display that was more befitting Division 1A than the lower tier.

However, such is the gulf in class in Division 1B between the top teams – Galway, Wexford and Limerick – and the others that it makes these fixtures a formality and, for the most part, does nothing to promote hurling, especially in this county.

For Galway’s class and greater purpose really shone through here and 3-31 on the board after the 70 minutes says it all.

Then again, despite the fact they have not won the McCarthy Cup since 1988, year in, year out Galway are regarded as genuine All-Ireland contenders – Laois haven’t harboured those aspirations since 1949, when they were beaten by Tipperary 3-11 to 0-3 in the decider! – and Micheál Donoghue’s charges played like that for three-quarters of this game.

Indeed, after just two minutes, Galway were 0-4 to 0-0 ahead; after six minutes, they had struck nine of their points (Laois still had not raised a flag); and by half-time they would have no less than 20 points on the board to Laois’ five.

This, though, is what happens when you pit a top-four team in the All-Ireland series against a county whose only ambition at this level is to maintain their courtship with mediocrity as was reflected by the Leinster counties’ successful campaign to keep Galway’s minor and U-21 teams out of their province.

It was easy to see why they would take such a stance when you see what Laois brought to the table on Sunday. That was absolutely nothing. Just like Offaly did in the opening round. Those counties are delusional and, as things stand, have as much hope of winning a Leinster hurling championship – at any grade – as the GAA hierarchy have of embracing some sort of sporting enlightenment.

Indeed, results like these show just how much the GAA has failed its national pastime in its 130 years under the Association’s rules and you only have to look at the last time these two counties met in the league in 2008 to support this argument as the Tribesmen defeated the same opposition by 36 points on that day.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.