Leinster SHC: Maher goal vital for O'Moore County

May 04, 2014

Westmeath's Philip Gilsenan with Neil Foyle Laois during the Leinster SHC round-robin at Cusack Park.
Laois 1-15
Westmeath 1-9

Laois overturned a three-point half-time deficit to get their Leinster SHC round-robin campaign off to a winning start against hosts Westmeath in Cusack Park today.

The O'Moore County - who had a bye in the opening round - surprisingly trailed by 0-5 to 1-5 at the halfway stage but a 52nd minute goal by Stephen 'Picky' Maher got them back on level terms and they justified favouritism when pulling away in the closing stages.

Darren Maher came into the Laois starting team in place of John Delaney but it was the hosts who drew first blood as Robbie Greville pointed on the run in the 6th minute.

'Picky' Maher opened Laois' account a minute later via a free he earned himself and a long range free from Matthew Whelan edged them in front in the 12th minute.

Those in attendance had little to shout about during the early exchanges as both teams struggled to find their range.

The maroon and whites accumulated 10 wides during the opening 35 minutes while Laois hit seven.

It was 0-5 apiece approaching the half-time whistle when Westmeath seized the initiative with the game's opening goal.

The Laois defence failed to deal with a long range free from Derek McNicholas and the sliotar was bundled over their goal line to give the hosts a three point lead.

The signs were ominous for the team in blue and white but Maher's goal midway through the second half eased their nerves and, with Willie Hyland in good point scoring form, they outscored their hosts by eight points to two in the time that remained.

They now turn their attention to a local derby against Carlow in round 3 next Sunday while Westmeath have a bye.

Laois - E Reilly; D Maher, B Campion, B Stapleton; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan (0-1, f), C Dunne; D Palmer, P Whelan; S Maher (1-4, 0-3fs), J Purcell, W Hyland (0-5); N Foyle (0-1), T Fitzgerald (0-1), R King (0-1). Subs: C Dwyer (0-1) for Purcell (26 mins), JA Delaney for Stapleton (half-time), J Campion (0-1) for Dunne (45), J Fitzpatrick for Palmer (48, temp), B Reddin for King (51), J Brophy for Reddin (66).

Westmeath - P Collins; K Duncan, T Doyle, L Varley; G Greville, A Craig, P Gilsenan; E Price, C Curley (0-1); R Greville (0-3), A Devine, D Gavin (0-1); N Conaty (0-1), D McNicholas (1-1, 1-0f), N O'Brien (0-1). Sub: A Clarke (0-1) for Craig (39).

Referee: C Browne (Galway).

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