Classy Laois back in the big time

Laois 3-14 Westmeath 1-09

Classy Laois back in the big time

Brian Hanley’s Westmeath scored just once from play — a seventh minute John Shaw point — as they were completely outclassed, much to the delight of Laois fans in the 1,050 official attendance.

Laois got off to a lightning start with pacey attacker John Brophy firing a brace of goals, giving them a commanding seven points cushion, 2-4 to 0-3, with just 14 minutes gone.

Westmeath withdrew both Mark Keegan and Philip Gilsenan on the right flank of their rearguard and stabilised matters somewhat thanks to the dead ball accuracy of free takers Derek McNicholas and Brendan Murtagh. Indeed in first-half injury time Murtagh saw his powerful 21m free bravely stopped by Laois custodian Eoin Reilly.

Trailing 0-6 to 2-7 at the break, Westmeath needed a decent start to the second half but it failed to materialise as Laois’s solid defence, with Brian Campion, Matthew Whelan and Joe Fitzpatrick, dictated matters.

Tommy Fitzgerald’s 50th minute goal saw Laois surge 3-10 to 0-8 clear. Westmeath netted a consolation goal from a Murtagh free and Laois sealed an emphatic win with points from three Stephen Maher frees and Willie Hyland.

LAOIS: E Reilly; B Stapleton, B Campion, JA Delaney; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan 0-2 (frees), G Burke; C Healy 0-1, J Walsh; S Maher 0-7 (frees), Z Keenan 0-1, B Dunne; T Fitzgerald 1-0, W Hyland 0-3, J Brophy 2-0. Subs: N Foyle for Brophy (47), W Dunphy for Fitzgerald (54), C Dunne for Hyland (65), D Maher for Stapleton (70), B Conroy for Maher (71).

WESTMEATH: P Collins; M Keegan, Adam Price, P Fennell; P Gilsenan, C Jordan, D Fennell; E Price, S Power; D McNicholas 0-6 (frees), A McGrath, R Greville; N O’Brien, B Murtagh 1-2 (1-1 frees, 0-1 65), J Shaw 0-1. Subs: T Gallagher for Keegan (13), G Greville for Gilsenan (33), T Doyle for D Fennell (44), Anthony Price for McNicholas (54), J Clarke for Shaw (60).

Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick).

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