McCormack hat-trick seals Lake's Offaly date
Westmeath 3-16 Laois 1-13
Westmeath will play Offaly in the semi-finals of the O'Byrne Cup after they comfortably beat Laois.
A hat-trick from corner-forward Callum McCormack set Westmeath on their way, with Luke Loughlin also catching the eye under new Westmeath manager Colin Kelly.
The home side were playing catch-up for most of the game, with McCormack's first goal coming in the sixth minute.
Laois launched a brief revival in the second half but they never really threatened to overhaul Westmeath.
The O'Moore men had taken an early lead through the impressive Eoin Lowry as he pointed from a tight angle after being set up by debutant Aaron Forbes.
McCormack's goal in the sixth minute put Westmeath 1-2 to 0-1 ahead, and they kept pulling away from there.
He and Luke Loughlin were causing Laois a lot of problems, and they had scored 1-6 between them by the interval, Westmeath leading by 1-9 to 0-6 at that stage.
The visitors to Stradbally continued to set the pace when play resumed, hitting three points on the trot at the start of the second half to dispel any hopes of a Laois comeback.
McCormack's second goal in the 54th minute all but finished the game as a contest and his third then put some gloss on the win two minutes later.
Laois responded well, to their credit, and a quick counter-attack ended with veteran Ross Munnelly rifling to the net. It was a superb score, but made little difference in the end as Westmeath cruised to victory by nine points.
scorers - Westmeath: C McCormack 3-3, L Loughlin 0-7 (2f), K Martin 0-3, J Dolan, F Coyne (f), A Gardiner 0-1 each. Laois: R Munnelly 1-5 (2f), E Lowry 0-5 (4f), N Donoher, A Forbes, R Murray 0-1 each.
westmeath - E Carbery; J Rock, S Duncan, M McCallon; J Dolan, N Mulligan, C Slevin; A Stone, D Corroon; N Scally, L Loughlin, K Martin; C McCormack, J Sheerin, J Egan. Reps: K Fagan for Carbery (h-t), A Gardiner for Rock (h-t), F Coyne for Sheerin (h-t), K Daly for Slevin (51), S Lyster for Stone (55), G Carr for Mulligan (60), G Leech for McCallon (60), B Sayeh for Martin (60), J Marshment for Egan (62), C Shanley for McCormack (62), T Molloy for Loughlin (69).
laois - E Keogh; S Attride, S Nerney, J Kelly; R Pigott, K Lillis, C Begley; D Luttrell, C Coss; C McEvoy, E O'Carroll, N Donoher; R Munnelly, A Forbes, E Lowry. Reps: C Finn for Kelly (23), D O'Reilly for Begley (h-t), R Murray for McEvoy (46), A Dowling for Luttrell (46), B Glynn for Coss (51), F Crowley for Donoher (57), S Moore for Nerney (70, BC).
ref - F Pierce (Offaly).