Laois claim top spot as Wicklow and Westmeath secure first wins

Stephen Maher fired 1-7 as Laois claimed top-spot of the Allianz NHL Division 2A this afternoon, with first wins of the campaign for Wicklow and Westmeath.

Stephen Maher fired 1-7 as Laois claimed top-spot of the Allianz NHL Division 2A this afternoon, with first wins of the campaign for Wicklow and Westmeath.

Goals in either half from Maher and substitute Andrew Collier helped Laois to a 2-20 to 2-12, with an excellent performance also from his fellow Camross clubman Zane Keenan who fired five points from play.

Laois led by 1-9 to 1-6 at the interval, thanks to a 21st minute Maher penalty goal, with Kerry's goal coming from Brendan O'Leary in the seventh minute.

Shane Nolan also helped keep Kerry in touch, with the Crotta corner-forward bagging seven points including five second half scores - all from placed balls.

However, Maher was in superb form with Collier bagging Laois's second goal in the 64th minute to ensure a 12-point lead, and although Kerry captain Aidan Boyle responded with a goal for the visitors, Laois had done enough groundwork early on.

At Croke Park, Wicklow claimed a 3-13 to 2-14 win over Kehoe Cup champions Kildare, in a game that was a curtain-raiser to the Allianz NFL Division 1 clash between Dublin and Kildare.

Despite the Garden County taking a two-point win, Kildare stormed to a 1-5 to 0-1 lead after 17 minutes with David Harney netting their goal, after being set up by captain Paul Divilly.

Kildare continued to impress before the break and led by 1-9 to 0-6 at the interval, but Wicklow offered a stern response on the restart.

Kildare only led by 1-11 to 1-10 with 20 minutes remaining, with Andy O'Brien netting a goal two minutes after the restart.

O'Brien levelled the game entering the final quarter with a Michael Lee goal giving Wicklow the lead soon after.

David Harney pushed Kildare ahead once again with a 54th minute goal, but Wicklow bounced back with a Robert Byrne goal.

Wicklow kept up the momentum with a second goal from Lee in the 65th minute goal paving the way for victory.

At Cusack Park, Mullingar second half goals from Niall O'Brien and John Shaw helped Westmeath to a 2-13 to 0-9 win over Derry.

Westmeath led by 0-6 to 0-5 at the interval, but were firmly on top in the second half.

Ruairi Convery and Paddy Henry among the scorers.

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