Westmeath 1-13 Laois 0-13
A Ger Egan inspired Westmeath landed victory in the Division 3 final at Croke Park on Saturday. Egan was a real thorn at centre forward for the Lake County contributing 1-07, 1-03 coming from open play. The Division 3 title now goes along with the O’Byrne Cup they won earlier in the year. The counties already met in the division obviously and Westmeath won that game by 3 points also. The sides will meet again in the Leinster Championship on May 26th but Jack Cooney’s men have the upper hand going into that game.
Laois made the better start and were swiftly out of the blocks at GAA Headquarters. Evan O’Carroll and Donal Kingston firing them into a two point lead inside the first five points. Laois full forward Paul Cahillane had the best goal chance of the half but his shot was blasted wide from close range. Ger Egan kicked Westmeath’s first score after 16 minutes in what was a relatively sparse crowd for a final. Egan would go onto to kick five more points , while Ronan O’Toole and John Heslin also raised white flags. Westmeath went at the break two points to the good, 0-07 to 0-05. James Dolan was given a black card and would be sin binned for the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
On the resumption Laois knew they had to start well and they just that with the numerical advantage obviously helping. They kicked three unanswered points, Donie Kingston kicking two along with a nice score from Evan O’Carroll. Ronan O’Toole fisted over the bar to level matters, before Kieran Martin put the midlanders back in the driving seat on 43 minutes with a well taken score. Mark Timmons got a nice score from outside the 45m line, before Laois went ahead with Evan O’Carroll. Westmeath were once again reduced to 14 men when corner back Boidu Sayeh was shown a black card for a poor challenge on Cahillane. Ger Egan had the teams on level terms 0-10 each with 50 minutes played. Ronan Wallace put Westmeath back in front, before the all but crucial goal came on 60 minutes courtesy of Ger Egan after Laois goalkeeper Graham Brody was caught in no mans land. David Lynch and man of the match Egan tagged on further white flags as the lead was out to five, Laois managed to get the gap back to three but they needed a goal in all truth to force it to extra time. John Sugrue’s charges in the end will be bitterly dissapointed as they kicked 16 wides.
Westmeath – E Carberry; K Daly, R Wallace (0-1), B Sayeh; K Maguire, N Mulligan, J Dolan; S Duncan, D Corroon; D Lynch (0-1), J Heslin (0-1), L Loughlin; R O’Toole (0-2), K Martin (0-1), G Egan (1-7, 0-4f). Subs: N O’Reilly for D Lynch, J Halligan for N Mulligan, T McDaniel for L Loughlin, D Giles for R O’Toole.
Laois – G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons (0-1), G Dillon; T Collins, C Begley, S O’Flynn; J O’Loughlin, K Lillis; E Lowry (0-1), C Boyle, M Scully; D Kingston (0-5, 3f), P Cahillane, E O’Carroll (0-6, 3f, 2’45). Subs: R Munnelly for E Lowry, B Carroll for C Boyle, B Quigley for K Lillis, P Kingston for P Cahillane, D O’Connor for M Scully.
Referee – Jerome Henry (Mayo)