Gaughan hits late free to rescue Laois
Laois 1-22 Westmeath 1-22
A late free from Laois substitute Eoin Gaughan ensured a share of the spoils against Westmeath, with the pair set to meet again in the Joe McDonagh decider at the end of the month.
Laois, who were already guaranteed a final spot, started brightly with a point from Stephen Maher.
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Westmeath drew level in the fourth minute from a Killian Doyle '65 as their opponents racked up four wides in the opening eight minutes.
Doyle landed another free before Joey Boyle and Robbie Greville helped to open up a three-point lead for Westmeath. Laois hit their second score when wing-back Jack Kelly rounded off a good move, and he added another soon after.
That spurred the visitors into action and Westmeath soon hit the opening goal. Derek McNicholas set up Robbie Greville and he jinked away from Joe Phelan before firing into the top corner.
Laois narrowed the gap but Aonghus Clarke's late point saw Westmeath lead 1-10 to 0-8 at the interval.
Laois were much improved on the restart and, spurred on by points from Gaughan and a Mark Dowling goal, they opened up a three-point lead, 1-16 to 1-13.
Substitute Darragh Clinton gave Westmeath presence up front, and he notched four points from play to see them lead by two late on. But Laois held their nerve and two frees from Gaughan saw them snatch a draw in injury-time.
Scorers - Laois: S Maher 0-6 (2f, 1 '65), E Gaughan (2f), R King 0-4 each, M Dowling 1-0, J Kelly 0-3, S Bergin 0-2, M Whelan, C Stapleton, E Rowland (f) 0-1 each. Westmeath: K Doyle 0-10 (9f, 1 '65), R Greville 1-2, D Clinton 0-4, J Boyle 0-2, A Devine, A Clarke, C Doyle, G Greville 0-1 each.
Laois: E Rowland; L Cleere, E Killeen, J Phelan; J Kelly, M Whelan, C Stapleton; J Lennon, C Phelan; R King, N Foyle, S Maher; M Dowling, A Dunphy, S Bergin. Subs: E Gaughan for Lennon (h-t), A Bergin for Dunphy (50), A Mortimer for J Phelan (53), L Burke for Kelly (59), C Comerford for Foyle (67).
Westmeath: C Lynch; D Egerton, T Doyle, G Greville; L Varley, A Clarke, P Greville; S Clavin, J Gilligan; C Doyle, K Doyle, J Boyle; R Greville, D McNicholas, A Devine. Subs: S McGovern for Clavin (h-t), C Shaw for Egerton (44), J Galvin for C Doyle (51), D Clinton for McNicholas (53), D O'Reilly for G Greville (60), S Power for P Greville (63).
Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).
Sunday Indo Sport