Offaly and Dublin punish rivals


Hurling round-up: Dublin were largely untroubled by Westmeath in O'Moore Park this afternoon as Tommy Naughton's side prepared for their semi-final appointment with Wexford.

Westmeath managed to keep it tight in the opening salvos, even having the temerity to challenge for the lead early in the second-half, but as the match progressed Dublin pulled away emphatically to record a 3-21 to 0-11 win .

In today's other game in Portlaoise, as far as warm-ups for the mammoth challenge of facing Kilkenny go, the curtain-raiser between Offaly and Laois fell woefully short.

True, Offaly won at a canter (4-22 to 2-12) but the watching Brian Cody will have seen precious little to concern the All-Ireland champions ahead of next month's Leinster semi-final.

The writing was on the wall just three minutes in for Damien Fox's Laois team as Conor Mahon expose a frail defence to hammer in the first of Offaly's many goals.

Noel Costello, with the wind at his back, may have responded with three early Laois frees but further goals from Dylan Hayden, Derek Molloy and a rash of Brian Carroll points eased Offaly into a 3-8 to 0-8 half-time lead.

Costello kept the scoreboard ticking over from the dead ball and two Willie Hyland goals, again from frees, threatened to lend the scoreline an air of respectability that Laois scarcely deserved.

But Joe Dooley's side were always in control. Carroll, who finished with 16 points, was a constant menace while a further goal from Ger Healion confirmed Offaly's superiority.