Leinster SFC: Westmeath cruise to victory
Leinster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
WESTMEATH 3-20 LAOIS 1-10
By Daragh Small at Bord Na Mona O'Connor Park
Westmeath registered their first win of 2021 with a huge 16-point victory over Laois Tullamore.
John Heslin and Ger Egan scored 0-10 between them, as Jack Cooney’s side bounced back following relegation to Division 2 in style.
Evan O’Carroll’s first half goal ensured Laois held a narrow 1-8 to 0-10 lead at the half-time interval. Heslin and Donie Kingston traded scores from frees but the goal separated the sides.
But Westmeath took complete control in the second half and goals from Denis Corroon, David Lynch and Lorcan Dolan eased them into the final four.
Laois scored first when Donie Kingston slotted a free and despite the miserable conditions Heslin quickly added a free of his own for Westmeath.
The next score was crucial, when Paul Kingston clipped a speculative pass into space but O’Carroll evaded the challenge from Boidu Sayeh and finished low to Jason Daly’s left-hand corner in the seventh minute.
It was a brilliant start from Laois but Westmeath scored three of the next four points with Egan on target twice from long range.
When Ronan O’Toole scored on the run the sides were back level 1-2 to 0-5 in the 13th minute.
Westmeath should have taken the lead moments later, James Dolan gifted Lorcan Dolan with the chance to score into an open goal, however he couldn’t find the target.
O’Toole’s second point put that right and Westmeath went in front on the quarter-of-an-hour mark. Egan’s third effort was sensational and Westmeath took a 0-7 to 1-2 advantage into the first water-break.
Two Donie Kingston frees later Laois were level before Heslin and Corroon cancelled those points out up the other end.
The play was frantic and end-to-end and predictably Laois got the next two scores, this time through Eoin Lowry and the brilliant Donie Kingston.
Jamie Gonoud was shown a black card for an off the ball incident and Donie Kingston punished that with another point from a Laois free.
Heslin struck over a sweet point from the tightest of angles to tie the scores approaching half-time but there was still time for Colm Murphy to give Laois the lead at the interval.
Heslin scored again after half-time and then the hammer blow arrived when Gonoud returned to provide some smart play in the build-up to Corroon’s goal. That goal made it 1-11 to 1-8 in Westmeath’s favour and a couple of Dolan points kept them in front.
Egan extended the gap to four and then another huge effort from the Tyrrellspass clubman meant Westmeath were 1-15 to 1-10 ahead at the final water-break.
Dolan’s pass set up Lynch for his goal in the 54th minute and the result was already beyond doubt by the time that Dolan fired to the net late on.
Laois captain Kieran Lillis had already been shown red for his second bookable offence and they limped out of the Championship.
Scorers for Westmeath: Lorcan Dolan 1-3 (1f), John Heslin 0-5 (3fs), Ger Egan 0-5, Denis Corroon 1-1, David Lynch 1-0, Ronan O’Toole 0-3, James Dolan 0-1, Tommy McDaniel 0-1, Darren Giles 0-1.
Scorers for Laois: Donie Kingston 0-6 (5fs), Evan O’Carroll 1-0, Colm Murphy 0-3 (1m), Eoin Lowry 0-1.
WESTMEATH: Jason Daly; Boidu Sayeh, Kevin McGuire, Jamie Gonoud; James Dolan, Ronan Wallace, Sam McCartan; Sam Duncan, Denis Corroon; Ray Connellan, Ronan O’Toole, David Lynch; Lorcan Dolan, John Heslin, Ger Egan.
Subs: Jack Smith for Boidu Sayeh (half-time), Fola Ayorinde for Connellan (48), Tommy McDaniel for John Heslin (61), Darren Giles for Denis Corroon (63), Noel Mulligan for Jamie Gonoud (65).
LAOIS: Niall Corbet; Trevor Collins, Gareth Dillon, Seamus Lacey; Patrick O’Sullivan, Colm Begley, Daniel O’Reilly; Kieran Lillis, John O’Loughlin; Evan O’Carroll, Eoin Lowry, Colm Murphy; Sean Byrne, Donal Kingston, Paul Kingston.
Subs: Mark Barry for Colm Murphy (49), Finbarr Crowley for John O’Loughlin (54), Mark Timmons for Sean Byrne (56), Diarmuid Whelan for Eoin Lowry (57), Ross Munnelly for Paul Kingston (57).
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath).