King crowns Laois’s day as they hold off Westmeath
Captain Ross King hit 10 points as Laois held off a late Westmeath comeback in O’Moore Park on Sunday afternoon in the opening round of the Leinster SHC.
Westmeath were arguably the stronger side in the first half but despite Alan Devine and Niall Mitchell in top scoring form, the home side kept in touch and a fortuitous goal from Paddy Whelan meant the sides were level at the break – Laois 1-8 Westmeath 0-11.
The sides went score for score in the early stages of the second half before Laois went up a gear, scoring eight points on the trot to go 1-19 to 0-14 ahead as the game entered the last 10 minutes.
Bringing the experienced Matthew Whelan into defence allowed Charles Dwyer to move to his more familiar role in at- tack and it was that switch that proved the catalyst for Laois’s improvement.
Sub Aaron Dunphy excelled for the winners with three excellent second-half points from Boyle; AClarke, play, while King’s accuracy from frees was also a major factor. Stephen Maher also impressed, finishing with four points.
Westmeath – who won all three round robin games last year to top the group – refused to give in though and late goals from sub Eoin Price and Robbie Greville reduced the gap to two.
But Laois did just enough to hold on and a late free from King ensured the home side did enough.
Laois make the trip to Navan next Sunday before finishing up the group stages away to Kerry on May 14th. CHealy, L Bergin, DPalmer; CCollier, ACorby, BConroy; for Corby(29), MWhelanfor Taylor (41), SDowney for Conroy (49), ELyons for Dwyer (62), E Killeen for PWhelan (66) PMoloney; CShaw, TDoyle, TGallagher; KDoyle. (55), NO’Brien for McGovern (57), JGalvin (0-1) for CBoyle (66) JOwens (Wexford). LCleere; J for KDoyle(41), DEgerton for JBoyle
Charles Dwyer: hit two points for Laois after moving from attack into defence