Gerry Reilly Shield s/f
By Conor McKenna
LAOIS booked their place in the final of the Gerry Reilly Shield after a three-point victory over Westmeath in Laois GAA Centre of Excellence, on Saturday.
Westmeath held an eight point lead with 40 minutes played but Laois completely dominated the last 20 minutes and a late penalty gave them a three-point win.
It was Laois who opened the scoring courtesy of a point from Ross Meredith, before Westmeath got the game’s opening goal when wing forward Sean Leech’s effort beat the goalkeeper, to give his side a two-point lead, which was stretched to three after a score from Tom Kellegher.
DJ White and Sammy Clarke traded scores and two further Westmeath scores gave the Lake County a five point lead.
Laois responded with two scores of their own to reduce the deficit to three and it was tit for tat up for the rest of the opening half, as Westmeath’s Sean Leech found the net for his second goal in the 29th minute, to give his side a 2-6 to 0-6 lead at half-time.
DJ White and Alan Malynn exchanged points after the interval, before Laois midfielder Oisin Hooney found the net for his side’s first goal, palming to the net after a set-up from Conor Kelly.
Laois added the next two points to reduce the gap to one, before Westmeath struck for their third goal, as centre forward Mikey Moffatt found the net to give his side a four lead, which was increased to five, after a point from the same player.
Westmeath’s fourth goal came from Jake Costello in the 40th minute and they looked set for victory but somehow Laois took over completely from this point onwards.
The home side responded instantly with a goal of their own courtesy of wing forward Meredith, before an Alan Malynn free settled Westmeath.
Colin Dunne pointed for Laois while Brian Smith found the net after a free from Conor Dunne, but a point from Leech put three between the teams.
Leech and Oisin Hooney exchanged points before a goal from Conor Kelly levelled the game with 58 minutes played.
Laois were then awarded a penalty when Colin Dunne was fouled by Tom Kellegher and Dunne dusted himself off and converted the penalty to give his side a three-point lead.
Westmeath full back Jack Doran was shown a black card before the penalty was taken and Westmeath finished the game with 14 men, after centre forward Mikey Moffatt was shown a straight red card in stoppage time.
Laois held on for a three point win and will play in the final while Westmeath’s season ends following this defeat.
LAOIS: Josh Kelly; Sam Quinn, Kian Lawler, Dan Daly; Ben Dempsey, Simon Fingleton, Padraig Rafter; Ben Reddin, Oisin Hooney (1-1); Josh Hogan, Brian Smith (1-1), Ross Meredith (1-2); DJ White (0-2, 0-1f), Colin Dunne (1-5, 1-0pen, 0-2fs), Conor Kelly (1-0).
Subs: Sean Fitzpatrick for Hogan (36m), Dylan Murphy for White (46m), Sam Birrane for Dempsey (48m)
WESTMEATH: Mikey Lynam; Eoghan Hogan, Jack Doran, Daniel Scahill; Jake Costello (1-0), Tom Kellegher (0-1 ’45), Senan Baker; David Aughey, Darren McWade (0-1); Podge Quinn, Mikey Moffatt (1-1), Sean Leech (2-3); Alan Malynn (0-2, 0-1f), Sammy Clarke (0-2), Warric Kirby.
Subs: Danny McCartan for Kirby (43m), Eoghan Curran for Aughey (56m), Jack Geoghegan for Doran (60m, black card)
Referee: Brendan Hickey (Laois)