Laois 1-12 Westmeath 2-17
Walsh Cup Round 2
The Laois hurler’s chances of reaching the Walsh Cup semi finals are all but over after they were beaten by Westmeath in Borris-In-Ossory this afternoon.
In a repeat of the Joe McDonagh Cup final from last summer, Eddie Brennan’s experimental side were unable to repeat that victory.
Laois started with just four players from that game in June – Jack Kelly, Ryan Mullaney, Aaron Bergin and Willie Dunphy – while Westmeath had six.
This defeat means that the only way Laois can reach the semi final is if they defeat Dublin on Thursday evening in Parnell Park – and they would have to do so by a lot to overturn the Dub’s and Westmeath’s superior points differences after they both enjoyed big wins over Carlow.
Laois played against the wind in the first half and really struggled initially to get a foothold in the game.
Captain Aaron Dunphy was their only scorer in the opening 16 minutes in Borris-In-Ossory as the visitors fired over six.
Derek McNichollas, Ciaran Doyle, Darragh Clinton and Niall Mitchell were all on the scoresheet for Westmeath in this time.
Eoin Gaughan rallied Laois with two placed balls and they then had a great goal chance when Paddy Keating set up Willie Dunphy but he couldn’t convert.
Darragh Clinton edged Westmeath on again but Laois got the next three points via Ryan Mullaney, Willie Dunphy and Gaughan to leave it 0-7 to 0-6 after 31 minutes.
But Westmeath were intent to take a bigger lead into the break and they got the half’s only goal in the first minute of added time when substitute Joey Boyle beat Paul Simms with a low shot off the foot of the post.
Derek McNichollas added another free but a peach of a sideline cut from Willie Dunphy brought the half to an end as Westmeath led 1-8 to 0-7 at half time.
Laois now had the wind but instead it was Westmeath who went six clear with two early McNichollas frees.
Eoin Gaughan responded for Laois but further points from Eoin Price and McNichollas left Westmeath 1-12 to 0-8 ahead with 20 minutes to go.
McNichollas’ seventh point pushed Westmeath on again but captain Aaron Dunphy made it 1-13 to 0-9 with 55 minutes on the clock.
A minute later, Laois thought they were right back in it when the impressive Gaughan buried a close-range free to the net only for Westmeath to go straight down the other end and get their second goal.
Darragh Clinton batted home their second goal but Laois responded well through Aaron Dunphy and Gaughan to leave it 2-13 to 1-11 with ten minutes to go.
McNichollas and Gaughan exchanged points and with five minutes to play there were five points between the teams.
But that would be as close as Laois would get as Westmeath finished out the game with a tenth point for McNichollas and one for Darragh O’Reilly to win by eight in the end.
SCORERS – LAOIS: Eoin Gaughan 1-6 (three frees, one 65), Aaron Dunphy 0-3, Willie Dunphy 0-2 (one sideline), Ryan Mullaney 0-1 (one free) WESTMEATH: Derek McNichollas 0-10 (seven frees), Darragh Clinton 1-2 (one free), Joey Boyle 1-0, Ciaran Doyle 0-1, Eoin Price 0-1, Niall Mitchell 0-1, Darragh O’Reilly 0-1
LAOIS: Paul Simms (Ballinakill); Allan Connolly (Ballyfin), Frank Flanagan (Portlaoise), Daniel Comerford (The Harps); Jack Kelly (Rathdowney-Errill), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Eric Killeen (Rathdowney-Errill); Fiachra C Fennell (Rosenallis), Ciaran Comerford (The Harps); Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla), Eoin Gaughan (Camross), Aaron Dunphy (Borris-Kilcotton); Aaron Bergin (Portlaoise), Paddy Keating (Rosenallis), James Keyes (Colt). Subs: Ciaran McEvoy (Portlaoise) for Killeen (ht, inj), James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill) for W Dunphy (38), Conor Cosgrove (Rosenallis) for Kelly and Mark Hennessy (Clough-Ballacolla) for Bergin (both 54), Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick) for Mullaney (60), Joe Phelan (Castletown) for Keyes and Cormac Rigney (Portlaoise) for A Dunphy (both 69)
WESTMEATH: Aaron McHugh; Aonghus Clarke, Tommy Doyle, Adam Ennis; Shane Clavin, Aaron Craig, Johnny Birmingham; Alan Cox, Derek McNicholas; Ciaran Doyle, Niall Mitchell, Robbie Greville; Liam Varley, Darragh Clinton, Eoin Price. Subs: Joey Boyle for Varley (30), Darragh O’Reilly for Mitchell (ht), Niall Mitchell for Clinton (40), Shane McGovern for Price (48)