Cork hurlers will face Westmeath after Laois lift the McDonagh Cup

Cork hurlers will face Westmeath after Laois lift the McDonagh Cup
Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Laois 3-26 Westmeath 1-21

LAOIS delivered a strong second-half display to deliver Joe McDonagh Cup silverware at Croke Park.

The O'Moore's, in their first appearance at GAA Headquarters since 2005 took honours, with goals key to victory, as Ross King, Aaron Dunphy and Stephen Bergin found the net, to ensure participation in the Leinster SHC in 2020 instead of Carlow.

It means Westmeath will take on Cork in next weekend's qualifier for a berth in the All-Ireland quarter-finals, with Laois against Dublin.

Once again Mark Kavanagh also showed his scoring prowess, not just from placed balls, but also from open play - finishing with 12 points to his credit.

Laois started strongly and held a 1-3 to 0-0 lead early on, with King firing his sides opening goal - before Kavanagh added a trio of points.

Westmeath were not far off their Midland counterparts and with captain Aonghus Clarke leading by example, and free-taker Killian Doyle also sublime, just four points separated the sides at the break.

Doyle grabbed 1-7 of his sides first half tally of 1-10, with Laois leading 2-11 to 1-10 at the break, after Aaron Dunphy fired their second goal.

On the restart Laois again came good, with Bergin completing their hat-trick, during a spell where he came on as a blood sub.

Westmeath kept in touch through the Doyle brothers, but Laois held that extra edge and hunger.

It was a sheer squad effort from Eddie Brennan's men, with Eanna Lyons and Neil Foyle also making their mark off the bench.

Lyons fired three points from play, while Foyle grabbed two fine scores, in a game where nine players were on target for the eventual winners.

Laois will now face Dublin, while Westmeath will take on Cork in the All-Ireland Preliminary Round Qualifiers next weekend, with both Midland sides having home venues.

Scorers for Laois: M. Kavanagh (0-12, 5 frees, 2 65); A. Dunphy (1-4); R. King, S. Bergin (1-0 each); E. Lyons (0-3), C Dwyer, J. Lennon, N. Foyle (0-2 each); P. Purcell (0-1).

Scorers for Westmeath: K. Doyle (1-11, 6 frees, 1 s/l); C. Doyle, A. Clarke (0-2 each); C. Boyle, A. Devine, D. McNicholas, J. Boyle, S. Clavin, E. Price 0-1 each.

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