Late goals give Laois real scare
Laois 1-23 Westmeath 2-17
Laois withstood a late barrage from Westmeath to claim a three-point win in the opening round of the Leinster Round Robin series in O'Moore Park.
The home side seemed to be cruising to victory when they went eight points ahead with eight minutes to go, but two Westmeath goals in injury time set up a frantic finale.
In the end, Laois just about managed to hold on for the win, but manager Eamonn Kelly will just be happy to put this game behind them and move on.
Westmeath were the better side in the first half, and Laois only really played to their potential for about 20 minutes in the second half, but luckily for them it was enough to scrape the win. Willie Dunphy had given them an early lead with a point from the left wing, but Westmeath responded in style. Three points in a row from the visitors saw them take control, and Laois were struggling to find their rhythm.
Westmeath lead by two coming up to half-time, but Picky Maher's brace left them level at 1-8 to 0-11 at the interval.
Laois dominated most of the second half, hitting eight points in a row at one stage, but only barely held on.
Goals from Robbie Greville and Eoin Price gave Westmeath late hope, but Laois held on for a narrow win.
Scorers - Laois: R King 0-10 (8f, 65), S Maher 0-4, A Dunphy 0-3, P Whelan 1-0, C Dwyer 0-2, W Dunphy, C Taylor, P Purcell, E Rowland (f) 0-1 each. Westmeath: A Devine 0-5 (3f), N Mitchell 0-4, R Greville 1-1, E Price 1-0, P Greville 0-2 (1f), G Greville, S McGovern, C Boyle, D McNicholas, J Galvin 0-1 each.
Laois - E Rowland 5; C Healy 7, L Bergin 6, D Palmer 6; C Collier 6, C Dwyer 7, L Cleere 6; R King 6, P Purcell 6; C Taylor 5, A Corby 5, B Conroy 5; W Dunphy 6, S Maher 6, P Whelan 6. Subs: A Dunphy 7 for Corby (29 mins), M Whelan 7 for Taylor (42), S Downey 6 for Conroy (48), E Lyons 6 for Dwyer (61), S Bergin for P Whelan (65).
Westmeath - P Maloney 8; C Shaw 6, T Doyle 6, T Gallagher 7; G Greville 6, P Greville 7, J Boyle 6; A Clarke 7, C Boyle 7; A Devine 6, D McNicholas 6, N Mitchell 8; S McGovern 6, R Greville 6, K Doyle 6. Subs: D Egerton 6 for J Boyle (56), N O'Brien 7 for McGovern (57), J Galvin for C Boyle (66).
Ref - J Owens (Wexford)