Home Sport GAA Slow start costs Laois as Westmeath defeat them in Mullingar

Slow start costs Laois as Westmeath defeat them in Mullingar

Evan O'Carroll

Westmeath 1-18 Laois 0-13
Allianz National Football League Division 2 Round 6

A slow start cost the Laois footballers dearly in Mullingar as they went down to Westmeath this afternoon.

Mike Quirke’s charges were defeated by eight points and will now need something from their trip to Fermanagh next weekend to secure their Division 2 status for 2021.

Laois were dealt a blow prior to throw in as Mark Timmons was replaced and then Colm Begley was injured in the warm up.

Laois played against the wind in the first half and they made a dreadfully slow start – failing to score for the first 15 minutes.

Westmeath on the other hand used the elements to perfection and limited Laois to efforts from long range which all missed.

The only real scare they had in that time was when a Mark Barry free that dropped short was recycled and came back to the young O’Dempsey’s man who forced a great save from Jason Daly.

But down the under end, Westmeath raced into a seven point lead. John Heslin kicked four points in that period while Kieran Martin, Dolan and Ronan O’Toole also pointed.

Laois did get a bit of a run before the water break as Gary Walsh won two frees which Mark Barry converted.

After the water break, it was more tit for that with both sides largely swapping scores.

Evan O’Carroll and keeper Niall Corbet converted frees while Gary Walsh scored Laois’s first point from play on the half hour mark.

Westmeath responded to those scores and could’ve had a goal too when James Dolan burst through but keeper Corbet pulled off a brilliant save.

Midfield Ray Connellan’s influence continued to grow for Westmeath and his two fine points, along with a brace of Heslin frees, left Westmeath 0-12 to 0-5 ahead at half time.

Laois manager Mike Quirke was sent to the stands a couple of minutes into the new half for, according to referee Patrick Maguire, ‘abusing a match official’.

But Laois got the first score of the new half through debutant Diarmuid Whelan.

Lorcan Dolan responded with his second mark but Niall Corbet replied with his second long range free of the day.

Laois missed a couple of close range frees and that stifled their attempts to stage a comeback.

Heslin landed another free as Westmeath led 0-15 to 0-8 with ten minutes to play.

But Westmeath soon put the game beyond Laois when Luke Loughlin and Ronan O’Toole combined to set up Jamie Gonoud to score a crucial goal.

Laois kept going with some Gary Walsh scores but they were well beaten in the end.

Promotion is now gone from Laois and they will have to get something from their trip to Fermanagh next Saturday to be assured of safety.

SCORERS: Laois: Gary Walsh 0-4 (three frees), Mark Barry 0-2 (two frees), Niall Corbet 0-2 (two frees), Evan O’Carroll 0-1 (one free), Diarmuid Whelan 0-1, Danny O’Reilly 0-1 Westmeath: John Heslin 0-8 (four frees), Ronan O’Toole 0-3, Jamie Gonoud 1-0, Lorcan Dolan 0-2 (two marks), Ray Connellan 0-2, James Dolan 0-1, Brandon Kelly 0-1, Kieran Martin 0-1

LAOIS: Niall Corbet; Trevor Collins, Denis Booth, Robbie Pigott; Alan Farrell, Sean O’Flynn, Eoin Buggie; Kieran Lillis, John O’Loughlin; Gareth Dillon, Mark Barry, Brian Byrne; Diarmuid Whelan, Evan O’Carroll, Gary Walsh. Subs: Danny O’Reilly for Dillon (ht), Ross Munnelly for Barry (45), Eoin Lowry for Byrne (50), Michael Keogh for Whelan (59), Seamus Lacey for O’Carroll (64)

WESTMEATH: Jason Daly; Jack Smith, Ronan Wallace, Boidu Sayeh; James Dolan, Kevin Maguire, Jamie Gonoud; Ray Connellan, Sam Duncan; Luke Loughlin, Ronan O’Toole, Paddy Halloway; Lorcan Dolan, John Heslin, Kieran Martin. Subs: Brandon Kelly for L Dolan (67), David Lynch for Halloway (69), Callum McCormack for Loughlin and Anthony McGivney for Martin (both 72)

REFEREE: Patrick Maguire (Longford)

SEE ALSO – Find all the LaoisToday sports coverage here

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.