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Favour from Kerry needed to avoid Joe McDonagh as Westmeath power past Laois

Laois hurlers general

Laois 1-18 Westmeath 5-24
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Round 5

The Laois senior hurlers require a favour from Kerry or they will play in the Joe McDonagh Cup in 2023.

That is after Seamas Cheddar Plunkett’s charges were well beaten by Westmeath in O’Moore Park this evening.

The only way Laois can now avoid relegation is if Kerry defeat Antrim in the Joe McDonagh Cup final in a few weeks.

If the Kingdom do that, they face a playoff for a place in the Munster Hurling Championship and nobody will be relegated from Leinster.

But if Antrim win, Laois will be down and they can have no complaints after being soundly beaten in all five of their matches to date.

Westmeath played against the wind in the first half but had the better of the opening exchanges.

Niall O’Brien, Killian Doyle and Joey Boyle were all on the scoreboard with Paddy Purcell and Cha Dwyer responding for Laois.

Laois drew level with points from Enda Rowland and Ross King by the tenth minute and then the sides went score for score for the next ten minutes.

Laois then went two clear through Ben Conroy and Padraic Dunne before they had a great goal chances.

James Keyes set up Stephen Maher one-on-one with Noel Conarty but the Westmeath keeper thwarted him from point blank range.

Ross King added a free to put Laois three clear but then the pendulum swung dramatically Westmeath’s way.

A long ball left Eoin Keyes through on goal and he slipped the ball underneath the advancing Enda Rowland for the game’s first goal.

Keyes, Killian Doyle and Joey Boyle all pointed to move the visitors three ahead after 30 minutes.

Laois needed a response and they got it two minutes later when Ross King did excellently to set up Paddy Purcell who drove through and rattled the net.

Enda Rowland added a free but then Westmeath scored three in a row to go back ahead – Killian Doyle with two and Jack Galvin with his first.

Laois ended the half with a James Keyes score and headed for the dressing rooms 1-12 to 1-11 in arrears.

Laois started the second half well and a couple of Ross King scores saw them go back ahead but their race would be run by the 55th minute.

Westmeath plundered through for three more goals by that stage and Laois’s race was run.

Niall Mitchell scored the first of those and then turned provider for the second for Niall O’Brien.

Eoin Keyes grabbed his second after a powerful run a short time later and it was curtains for the home side.

Laois then lost Sean Downey to injury and having made all their subs, had to play the final 15 minutes with 14 men.

Niall Mitchell grabbed a second goal for Westmeath before the end as they won at a canter.

SCORERS – Laois: Ross King 0-6 (one free, one 65), Paddy Purcell 1-1, Enda Rowland 0-4 (all frees), James Keyes 0-3, Ben Conroy 0-2, Cha Dwyer 0-1, Padraic Dunne 0-1 Westmeath: Killian Doyle 0-7 (four frees), Eoin Keyes 2-1, Niall Mitchell 2-0, Niall O’Brien 1-3, Joey Boyle 0-5, Davy Glennon 0-3, Jack Galvin 0-2, Cormac Boyle 0-1, Aaron Craig 0-1, Jack Gillen 0-1

LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Padraic Dunne, Sean Downey, Donnchadh Hartnett; Ryan Mullaney, Liam O’Connell, Ciaran McEvoy; Jack Kelly, Paddy Purcell; James Keyes, Cha Dwyer, Ben Conroy; Stephen Maher, Ross King, Fiachra-C Fennell. Subs: Aidan Corby for Dunne (ht), Tomas Keyes for Kelly and PJ Scully for Maher (both 54), Willie Dunphy for Conroy and Eric Killeen for Mullaney (both 56)

WESTMEATH: Noel Conaty; Darragh Egerton, Tommy Doyle, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Aonghus Clarke, Jack Galvin; Cormac Boyle, Robbie Greville; Joey Boyle, Killian Doyle, Niall Mitchell; Niall O’Brien, Eoin Keyes, Davy Glennon. Subs: Derek McNichollas for O’Brien (56), Kevin Regan for C Boyle (62), Shane McGovern for R Greville (65), Jack Gillen for Keyes (67), Alan Cox for Glennon (70)

Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim)

SEE ALSO – Emo GAA crowned champions of Ireland’s Fittest Club Competition

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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.