Westmeath booked their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a 10-point win over Laois at O'Moore Park last night. Pat Flanagan's team had far too much for the hosts and now progress to meet Offaly on March 9.
The home side started brightly, James Doyle winning a free which was converted by wing-forward Luke Doyle. Laois failed to build on that, however, and Westmeath punished them with three points on the trot, all from placed balls, with Conor Lynam (two) and Ian Coffey on target.
Westmeath looked a slicker, more accomplished outfit in the first half and had built up a three-point lead before winning a penalty; Coffey tucking away the spot-kick to give Laois a mountain to climb.
The Lake county led at the break 1-6 to 0-3, and were too strong to let Laois back into the game, with a late goal from Barry Kelly a mere consolation for the hosts.
SCORERS -- Westmeath: C Lynam 0-5 (3f), I Coffey 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), T McDaniel 0-3, A Corroon, J Dolan 0-2 each, K Sheridan, C McCormack 0-1 each
Laois: B Kelly 1-0, K Lillis 0-2, C Farrell, L Doyle (1f), G Walsh (1f) 0-1 each.
WESTMEATH -- E Carberry; B Moran, K Sheridan, K Maguire; M McCallum, K Martin, J Dolan; D Keenan, D Daly; A Corroon, C Lynam, G Egan; I Coffey, C McCormack, T McDaniel. Subs: D Malynn for Corroon (50), S Flanagan for Keenan (52), J Gilligan for Daly (58), D Gavin for Martin (60).
LAOIS -- J Dunphy; A Whelan, C Booth, S George; S Murphy, C Farrell, J Nerney; D Kingston, K Lillis; L Doyle, S Nerney, B Kelly; J Doyle, D Hayden, G Walsh. Subs: K Campion for George (20), B Mitchell for J Nerney (25), J Farrell for S Nerney (ht), R O'Connor for J Doyle (h-t), J Finn for Hayden (42).
Ref -- B O'Shea (Dublin).