Westmeath shake off Laois

Westmeath 1-12 Laois 0-10: Allianz Football League Division 2: Westmeath’s campaign got off to a winning start in Mullingar yesterday.

The sides were level five times in the first half, but Westmeath struck a crucial goal in injury-time when captain Ger Egan teed up James Dolan for a cool finish. Dolan was then fouled allowing Ray Connellan convert his third free to give the hosts a 1-6 to 0-5 interval lead.

With the wind, Laois were deservedly level (0-10 to 1-7) when Evan O’Carroll landed a 45 after Darren Strong had missed the two earlier kicks.

Brendan Quigley and John O’Loughlin were getting the better of midfield but Laois’s momentum was halted when corner back Padraig McMahon picked up a second yellow card in the 61st minute.

Westmeath hit five unanswered points via Ray Connellan, David Lynch and Ger Egan before Laois lost Quigley to a straight red card in the 68th minute.

The Westmeath camp was hit with a flu virus leading up to the match. Boss Tom Cribbin admitted: “We had a lack of choices in some positions due to the bug and I’m hoping to have more players available for the Galway game.”

Laois manager, Tomás Ó Flatharta unsurprisingly honed in on the two dismissals as “key moments”. “Taking the positives, I thought defence played very well, with Gearóid Hanrahan outstanding at centre-half.”

Scorers for Westmeath: R Connellan 0-5 (5f), G Egan 0-4 (2f), J Dolan 1-0, C McCormack, J Heslin (f) and D Lynch 0-1 each.

Scorers for Laois: D Kingston 0-3 (2f), E O’Carroll 0-2 (1‘45’), R Munnelly (f), N Donoher, D Strong, J Finn and J O’Loughlin 0-1 each.

WESTMEATH: D Quinn; M McCallon, K Maguire, J Gilligan; K Daly, K Martin, J Dolan; P Holloway, D McCormack; C McCormack, G Egan, J Egan; R Connellan, J Heslin, D Glennon.

Subs: P Sharry for C McCormack (BC, 15), L Smyth for Heslin (BC, 35), J Gonoud for Holloway (h-t), D Daly for D McCormack (52), J Connellan for J Egan (56), D Lynch for Glennon (inj.,65).

LAOIS: G Brody; P McMahon, M Timmons, R Kehoe; D Strong, G Hanrahan, C Boyle; B Quigley, J O’Loughlin; J Finn, N Donoher, B Sheehan; R Munnelly, D Kingston, E O’Carroll.

Subs: C Kelly for Finn (50), K Meaney for Sheehan (62), E Keane for O’Carroll (70).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).

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