Laois v Westmeath, Sunday, 2 pm, O’Connor Park, Tullamore
Laois and Westmeath meet on Sunday in O’Connor Park, Tullamore in the Leinster quarter-final. The game throws in at 2 pm. The winners of this game will meet either Carlow or Meath in the Leinster semi-final.
Laois have been on an upward curve. They have been promoted in the last two season from the respective divisions, Division 4 in 2018 and then promoted from Division 3 this season. They will play the 2020 Allianz League in Division 2 which is where Laois football needs to be. John Sugrue has done a fantastic job. His side won five games in division 3. This will be a tough assignment for Laois but they are capable of putting in a massive performance.
Westmeath topped Division 3 ahead of Laois on score difference. They would go on to the Division 3 final where they would subsequently beat Laois by three points, 1-13 to 0-13. That scoreline suggests that this encounter will also be a close game yet again. Jack Cooney is the Lake County boss and will be tasting championship with the side for the first time. However, he will be looking his side can gain revenge for that league final defeat as well as losing the championship meeting between the sides last summer, when Laois’ Paul Cahalane scored 3-02.
Laois will look to players like Stephen and Mark Timmons in defence. Colm Begley will likely be named at the pivotal centre back position. In the Laois attack, Donie Kingston and Paul Cahalane will be key. Looking at Westmeath Kevin Maguire and James Dolan will be key in defence. In attack Kieran Martin, Ger Egan and John Heslin will be key men.
Last 5 Championship Meetings
2018 Laois 4-13 Westmeath 1-12 ( Leinster quarter-final)
2004 Westmeath 0-12 Laois 0-10 (Leinster final replay)
2004 Westmeath 0-13 Laois 0-13 (Leinster final)
2000 Westmeath 1-12 Laois 0-11 ( Leinster quarter-final)
1999 Laois 1-16 Westmeath 1-08 (Leinster quarter-final)
Laois: Graham Brody, Denis Booth, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillion, Sean O’Flynn, Colm Begley, Patrick O’Sullivan, John O’Loughlin, Kierna Lillis, Daniel O’Reilly, Conor Boyle, Damian O’Connor, Paul Kingston, Colm Murphy, Evan O’Carroll
This game couldn’t be any closer in the betting. Laois are evens and Westmeath are evens with the draw at 15/2. I fancy Laois to win here by 1-3 points at odds of 3/1.