Sharry point seals the deal as Westmeath march into final
Westmeath U-21 0-14
Laois U-21 0-11
Westmeath qualified for their first Leinster final in 10 years with a deserved win over Laois at Mullingar yesterday.
A gripping game of football was played out in front of almost 2,200 spectators and there was never more than two points between the sides in the first period, with Laois midfielder Donie Kingston the most influential player on view.
Just on half-time, a free from Paul Cahillane left the visitors ahead by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.
After the interval, Laois extended their advantage with converted frees from Cahillane and Kingston.
But, with Denis Corroon and John Heslin coming more into the game at centrefield, Westmeath rallied to level the contest at 0-9 each by the ninth minute.
Two minutes later, however, Laois regained the lead, but at a cost, when point-scorer Adam Ryan was sent off, on the advice of a linesman, for striking as he was returning to his position.
The nip-and-tuck nature of the game continued and the sides were on level terms -- 0-11 each -- midway through the second half.
However, Westmeath finished the stronger, with scores from James Durkan, a Conor Lynam free and a fisted point in injury-time from the industrious Paul Sharry.
Scorers -- Westmeath: I Coffey 0-6 (0-5f), P Sharry 0-2, D Corroon, J Heslin, J Egan, C Lynam, C McCormack, J Durkan 0-1 each. Laois: D Kingston 0-5 (0-1s/l, 0-2f), P Cahillane 0-4 (0-3f), A Ryan, B Smith 0-1 each.
Westmeath -- D Quinn; B Moran, K Maguire, R Doyle; G Egan, K Martin, J Dolan; D Corroon, J Heslin; P Sharry, J Egan, C Lynam; I Coffey, C McCormack, J Durkan. Subs: T Mescall for Moran (25), L Smyth for Durkan (50), T McDaniel for Coffey (60).
Laois -- J Dunphy; R Kehoe, J Mulhare, D Browne; C Booth, K Lillis, C Boyle; B Glynn, D Kingston; A Ryan, J Booth, B Smith; P Cahillane, G Walsh, E Kelly. Subs: J Finn for Walsh (22), J Doyle for Booth (h/t), S George for Doyle (53), S. Kearney for Mulhare (54).
Ref -- F Kelly (Longford).