Laois are through to the semi-finals of the EirGrid Leinster U-20 championship this Saturday after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Westmeath last night.
Westmeath had started brightly thanks to points from Jack Murtagh and TJ Cox (free) as Laois took a while to settle, but once they did Ronan Coffey (3), Jack Owens and Daragh Galvin all found the target.
Westmeath had to work hard to get back into it, but they duly did, helped by a sin-binning of Laois captain Ronan Coffey. Westmeath finished the half the stronger of the two sides, as they trailed by just one at the break, 0-6 to 0-5.
Westmeath got on top in the second half thanks to a fortuitous goal from a Jack Colclough free in the 45th minute, and it was Laois’ turn to dig deep now. They duly did, with goalkeeper Matthew Byron’s pointed free in the 62nd minute forcing extra time.
After being level on occasions in extra time the game went to penalties. Laois went first and scored four of their five, leaving all the pressure on Westmeath’s Tommy Ryan, who saw his effort fly over the crossbar to hand Laois the win.
SCORERS – Laois: R Coffey (3f) 0-4, M Barry (2f, 1m) 0-3, J Owens 0-2 each, M Byron (f), Jack Lacey, S O’Neill, D Galvin (m) 0-1 each
Westmeath: K Colclough 1-0f, J Nugent, T Ryan (1m, 1f) 0-2 each, E Bracken, A Flanagan, J Murtagh, J Lynam, TJ Cox (f), S Maxwell 0-1 each.
LAOIS: M Byron; M Dowling, A Mohan, N Keane; D Brophy, G Saunders, Jack Lacey; PJ Daly, B Howlin; R Coffey, J Owens, D Larkin; SM Corcoran, D Galvin, Josh Lacey.
Subs: M Barry for Josh Lacey (34), S O’Neill for Corcoran (38), SM Corcoran for Howlin (68), R Bolger for Brophy (ht, et)
WESTMEATH: T Martin; C Daly, C Drumm, S McGonagle; E Bracken, E Mulvihill, D Seery; A Flanagan, J Tumelty; J Murtagh, S Allen, S McCartan; S Maxwell, TJ Cox, J Nugent.
Subs: J Lynam for Murtagh (ht), T Ryan for Tumelty (38), K Colclough for Allen (42), J Nagle for McGonagle (47), Jack Torpey for Nugent (55), S Fleming for Flanagan (64), T Graham for Seery (72), S Fox for McCartan (76, inj)
Referee: C Reilly (Meath)