Paul Kingston hat-trick sees Laois secure comeback win against Westmeath

By Paul Keane

Laois 4-13 Westmeath 1-12

Paul Kingston nailed a stunning hat-trick as Laois came from behind to seal a Leinster semi-final place in style.

John Sugrue's side slipped three behind early on but dominated the remainder of the game to win at their ease in Tullamore.

Kingston fired 47th, 50th and 60th minute goals while sub Evan O'Carroll added another 1-1 in a second-half blitzkrieg.

It follows Laois' first-round win over Wexford and secures them a June 10 date with Carlow or Kildare at Croke Park.

Gareth Dillon, Donie Kingston and Kieran Lillis all impressed too for Laois who brought on league top scorer Gary Walsh late on.

But it was a disaster for Westmeath who conceded 4-3 in the second-half and must pick themselves up for a June 9 qualifier.

Colin Kelly's men actually began the brighter despite being robbed of John Heslin's star quality.

The full-forward was troubled by a hip problem and sat among the subs wearing number 26, only coming on late on.

Westmeath still set the early tempo despite playing into the breeze.

John O'Loughlin of Laois in action against Darragh Daly of Westmeath. PIc: Sportsfile.

John Connellan, Ger Egan and Luke Loughlin all pointed to put daylight between the teams.

Kieran Martin got in on the action and another from Loughlin left the Lakes men 0-5 to 0-2 clear.

But they only scored once more in the half as the Division 4 league champions came roaring back into the contest.

The O'Moore men outscored Westmeath by 0-8 to 0-1 from the 20th minute to half-time.

Veteran Ross Munnelly scored three of those points from frees, two of which were won by Donie Kingston.

Niall Donoher had a huge impact when he came on for Alan Farrell, scoring two fine points from play.

Laois led 0-10 to 0-6 at the break and Westmeath were also rocked by the loss of in-form Connellan to a 32nd minute black card.

It was all Laois in the second-half and Kingston's three goals, the first and third of which were absolute crackers, left Westmeath reeling.

The 2004 champions pulled a goal back through defender Mark McCallon but O'Carroll's 1-1 shortly after coming on was the final hammer blow.

Scorers for Laois: P Kingston 3-2, E O'Carroll 1-1, R Munnelly 0-3 (0-3f), N Donoher 0-2, A Farrell 0-1, D Kingston 0-1 (0-1f), C Begley 0-1, T Collins 0-1, G Walsh 0-1.

Scorers for Westmeath: L Loughlin 0-4 (0-2f), M McCallon 1-0, G Egan 0-3 (0-1f), F Coyne 0-2, J Connellan 0-1 (0-1f). K Martin 0-1, R O'Toole 0-1.

Laois: G Brody; G Dillon, M Timmons, S Attride; T Collins, C Begley, F Crowley; J O'Loughlin, K Lillis; A Farrell, P Kingston, D O'Connor; B Carroll, D Kingston, R Munnelly.

Subs: N Donoher for Farrell (22), D Strong for O'Connor (59), E O'Carroll for Carroll (59), D Conway for Munnelly (63), S Nerney for Timmons (65, blood), G Walsh for D Kingston (67), D Booth for Attride (75).

Westmeath: S Gallagher; J Gonoud, S Duncan, M McCallon; J Egan, A Stone, N Mulligan; D Corroon, D Daly; K Martin, C McCormack, G Egan; L Loughlin, R O'Toole, J Connellan.

Subs: F Coyne for Connellan (32, black card), R Wallace for Daly (42), A McGivney for J Egan (49), J Heslin for O'Toole (55), B Sayeh for Mulligan (71), D Whelan for McCallon (71).

Ref: P Hughes (Armagh).

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