Laois barely break sweat in cakewalk
Laois were never seriously troubled by a lacklustre Westmeath at a sparsely attended Cusack Park.
Any quality hurling on show in a poor standard game came from the visitors who led from start to finish. Buoyed by a close-range goal from lively corner-forward John Purcell in the fifth minute, Laois generally dominated the exchanges against token resistance from Westmeath.
The winning side went on to lead by 1-9 to 0-5 at the interval, despite having had the luxury of shooting 10 wides (to Westmeath's eight) in the opening 35 minutes.
The overall fare on offer was no better on the change of ends, with Laois adding three more unanswered points in the opening five minutes of the second half.
Brendan Fennelly's charges continued to score points at regular intervals, with eight players making the scoresheet.
For their part, the home side failed to mount a serious challenge, with Andrew Mitchell's long-range frees their only noteworthy contribution. Westmeath trailed by 11 points with 10 minutes remaining when Mitchell's attempt to blast home a goal from a 25-metre free resulted in their ninth and last point.
Three more Laois points (including two more from impressive substitute Owen Holohan) brought an end to a lifeless encounter.
On this evidence, Kevin Martin's men will do well to maintain Division 2 status for 2012 and their much-heralded return to Leinster Championship action is likely to be very brief this summer.
Scorers -- Laois: J Purcell 1-3, W Hyland 0-5 (3f, 1 '65'), J Brophy, O Holohan 0-3 each, B Dunne 0-2, N Foyle, J Walsh, N Costelloe 0-1 each. Westmeath: A Mitchell (3f), B Murtagh (1f) 0-3 each, C Flanagan, B Smyth, A Devine 0-1 each.
Laois -- P Mullaney; JA Delaney, B Campion, B Stapleton; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, C Dunne; J Walsh, S Burke; B Dunne, N Costelloe, W Hyland; J Purcell, N Foyle, J Brophy. Subs: T Fitzgerald for Brophy (52), O Holohan for Costelloe (52), D Maher for Burke (56), R Gill for Hyland (65), B Galvin for Delaney (65).
Westmeath -- P Burke; R Whelan, P Greville, E Price; P Gilsenan, A Mitchell, D McCormack; N Flanagan, C Flanagan; B Smyth, D McNicholas, B Murtagh; A Devine, B Lahart, D Carty. Subs: J Shaw for Carty (h-t), C Curley for Lahart (47), S Bardon for McNicholas (55), A Craig for Devine (70).
Ref -- T Carroll (Offaly).