PJ Scully’s brilliant 0-17 haul for Laois ensured Saturday’s compelling Allianz Hurling League Division One relegation play/off ended in defeat for Westmeath.
It was tough on Westmeath, who contributed handsomely to an absorbing match, but teh home team eventually prevailed in Portlaoise.
Westmeath, encouraged following the Joe McDonagh Cup triumph, led by nine points in the opening period.
Aaron Craig’s red card before half-time, though, had a severe impact and Laois came storming back.
Killian Doyle and Aonghus Clarke were instrumental as Westmeath began to pull clear. Further scores fom Ciaran Doyle, Niall Mitchell, and Joey Boyle edged Westmeath 0-14 to 0-6 in front.
Laois did clip a goal courtesy of Ross King which ultimately proved to be a critical score, but Westmeath still led 0-18 to 1-9 at the break.
When the action recommenced Scully was excellent for Laois, while Willie Dunphy and Jack Kelly also fired over impressive scores.
Late on Westmeath had a great chance when Davy Glennon was fouled and a penalty was rewarded. Unfortunately Derek McNicholas’ penalty went over rather than under the bar with Laois surving a significant scare emerging 1-27 to 0-27 winners.