Laois hurlers survive in Joe McDonagh Cup after rocky season

Away win in Navan over Meath will send Laois back to drawing board despite victory

Leinster Express Reporter

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Cha Dwyer

Cha Dwyer's goal sent Laois on their way against Meath.

Laois avoided an embarrassing exit to the third rung of inter-county championship hurling but the county will have to go back to the drawing board despite a comprehensive win over Meath in Navan.

Goals from Ben Conroy, Charles Dwyer and Patrick Purcell sent Laois to a comfortable win over Meath to retain Joe McDonagh Cup status for 2019.

It was a winner takes all tie after a bad championship run for the O'Moore men which included an embarrassing loss to Carlow at home in Portlaoise last Sunday.

It ended their hopes of replacing Offaly in the Liam McCarthy and sent them into a relegation dogfight with the Royals.

Laois led from the eight minute when a Ross King free gave a 3-2 points lead. But it wasn't until just before half time in that the Laois men really stamped their authority on the game when Cha Dwyer, a late addition to the starting line up, hit the back of the net.

The Ballinakill man's goal on 30 minutes put Laois 1-9 to 5 points ahead.

A point from half forward Willie Dunphy on 38 minutes put Laois into a good 1-13 to 7 points lead at half time.

Laois were always in control in the second half but Meath started well with two quick points and continued to stay in the game.

However, Laois streched their half-time lead to nine points with time running out and in the 29th minute  the O'Moore men finished the game as a contest when midfielder Paddy Purcell put the ball in the net for Laois' second.

A third goal by Ben Conroy as time was running out gave Laois a convincing 3-23 to 14 point win.

Laois finish the Joe McDonagh Cup league series in fourth on four points ahead of Antrim on scoring difference.

Carlow face Westmeath in the first ever Joe McDonagh Cup final in Croke Park. The winners will go into the Leinster Championship round robin to face Kilkenny, Galway, Wexford and Dublin in 2019 with Offaly relegated to the Joe McDonagh.

Joe McDonagh Cup league table.

LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Padraig Lawlor, Leigh Bergin, Joe Phelan; James Ryan, Matthew Whelan, Lee Cleere; Ryan Mullaney, Patrick Purcell; Charles Dwyer, Ben Conroy, Stephen Maher; Willie Dunphy, Neil Foyle, Ross King.

See below named team for Laois team named in advance of game.