Heslin sets tone for UCD to power into semi-final spot
UCD 1-14 Laois 3-6
UCD will play the champions Kildare in next week's O'Byrne Cup semi-final after they scored a convincing win over Laois at a wind-and-rain-swept Portarlington.
In difficult conditions, the visitors took an early lead when Billy Sheehan conceded a penalty and Westmeath man John Heslin made no mistake with his effort.
Laois, who looked impressive in midweek against Offaly, took a long time to settle and UCD completely outplayed them in the opening 20 minutes.
The students added points by Dublin star Paul Mannion and Laois' Paul Kingston. By the time Laois opened their account, UCD were in a commanding position.
David Conway gave Laois hope with a well-struck goal, followed up by points from Conor Meredith and Adam Ryan, but at the break UCD led by 1-5 to 1-2.
On the changeover, UCD completely dominated, adding a string of points by Heslin and Mannion as Laois failed to add to their tally in the third quarter.
Laois made a few changes and struck for a goal by Eoin Lowry and points by Meredith.
Gary Walsh, who produced a great display, then narrowed the gap with a well-taken goal and three points, but time ran out and UCD kept alive the chances of an all-Dublin student final, if they overcome the champions and DCU beat Meath.
Scorers -- UCD: J Heslin 1-5 (1-0 pen, 1f), P Mannion 0-3, P Reilly 0-2, C Lenihan, B Fenton, P Kingston (1f), M Hughes 0-1 each Laois: G Walsh 1-3 (1 '45'), D O'Connor, Eoin Lowry 1-0 each, C Meredith 0-2, A Ryan 0-1
UCD -- E Keogh; O Fitzpatrick, D Byrne, P Reilly; C Lenihan, P O'Harnan, R McDaid; R Tierney, J Heslin; B Fenton, P Mannion, C Downey; P Kingston, M Hughes, R Basquel. Subs: S Cadden for Basquel (h-t), S McEntee for Lenehan (49), R Bergin for Downey (56), J McCaffrey (59), J Toher for Kingston (67).
LAOIS -- D Maher; D Booth, M Timmons, J Mahon; S Attride, P Begley, A Ryan; K Lillis, J O'Loughlin; N Donoher, D Kingston, B Sheehan; M Scully, C Meredith, D Conway. Subs: D O'Connor for Donoher (4), E O'Carroll for Scully (24), E Lowry for O'Connor (h-t), P O'Leary for Lillis (47), G Walsh for Conway (47).
Ref -- D Maher (Westmeath)