Westmeath retains Leinster status with one-hit Laois in round-robin final

After their tie against Wexford a week ago, many pundits saw Westmeath win this final match of the Leinster Hurling Round-Robins.

But certainly not in that way, as The Lake County retained their Leinster Championship status for the next year with a 24-point win over Laois in Portlaoise.

Now Laois must hope Kerry wins the Joe McDonagh Cup final next weekend if they want to be in top-flight competition next year.

If Antrim wins the finals, Laois are relegated.

Westmeath was worth his win, consistently played the better hurling and always looked like the winners. Their shot was sharper, cleaner, and their players were always looking for the man in space.

No wonder they were already pushing both Kilkenny and Dublin hard against Wexford before that effort.

The goals came for Westmeath in the second half and in the end they were worth every point of their 18-point lead.

The winners always played crisp spins, moved the ball precisely across the field and always looked for their man.

In the second half of the game, Westmeath manager Joe Fortune made a tactical decision that worked like a dream.

He moved the big Niall Mitchell forward and started raining the ball down on him.

Mitchell won two clean passes and traded them to Niall O’Brien and Eoin Keyes for two Westmeath goals.

And he also raised a few green flags for himself as Westmeath turned on the style and moved away from their hapless hosts. Mitchell was a deserved man of the match for his one-man demolition job at the Laois defense in the second half.

This was a tough season for Laois that ended in bitter disappointment and a shocking defeat for a team that Laois would always believe they could beat.

They have been plagued by injuries and by players retiring from the body, and have – with the exception of the Dublin game – been hammered in every game they have played in the Leinster round robin.

They need to rebuild and a year in Joe McDonagh country may not be the worst for them.

Goalscorers – Laois: R King 0-7 4f’s E Rowland 0-4 4f’s P Purcell 1-1 J Keyes 0-2 B Conroy 0-2 C Dwyer 0-1 P Dunne 0-1

WESTMEATH: K Doyle 0-8 4f’s E Keyes 2-1 N Mitchell 2-0 N O’Brien 1-3 J Boyle 0-4 D Glennon 0-3 J Galvin 0-2 C Boyle 0-1 J Gillen 0-1 A Craig 0-1

Laois: E Rowland; Dunne P, Downey S, Hartnett D; R Mullaney, C McEvoy, F Fennell; J Kelly, L O’Connell; P Purcell, C Dwyer, J Keyes; B. Conroy, R. King, S. Maher- Subtitle: A Corby for Dunne ht PJ Scully for Maher and T. Keyes for Kelly 55 minutes W Dunphy for Conroy and E Killeen for Mullaney 57 minutes

WESTMEATH: NConaty; J Galvin, C Shaw, D Egerton; R Greville, A Craig, T Doyle; C Boyle, A Clarke; D Glennon, E Keyes, N O’Brien; N Mitchell, J Boyle, K Doyle. subs: D. McNicholas for O’Brien 57 minutes K Regan for C Boyle 63 minutes S McGovern for Greville 66 minutes J Gillen for Keyes 68 minutes fdsdfsdf

Referee: C. List (Antrim)

https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/hurling/westmeath-preserve-leinster-status-with-thrashing-of-laois-in-round-robin-finale-41674414.html Westmeath retains Leinster status with one-hit Laois in round-robin final

Fry Electronics Team

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