Laois 1-12 Westmeath 2-16
Derek McNicholas helped himself to 10 points as Westmeath got the better of Laois in the Walsh Cup in Borris-in-Ossory.
Ahead of a daunting Division 1 league campaign, which begins at the end of the month, Westmeath fielded a relatively strong side in comparison to an experimental Laois outfit and they were on top for long spells of the first half when playing with the aid of the breeze.
A Joey Boyle goal helped them to a 1-8 to 0-7 lead at the break with Eoin Gaughan and Willie Dunphy doing most to keep the home side in touch.
A couple of early McNicholas frees settled Westmeath early in the second half as they maintained their lead.
Darragh Clinton batted a goal to the net for Westmeath and though Gaughan fired a goal for Laois from a close-range free, Westmeath always had enough in hand.
Laois complete the group stages with a trip to Dublin on Thursday night when they’ll need a big win to set up a semi-final meeting with Galway next weekend.
WESTMEATH: A McHugh; A Clarke, T Doyle, A Ennis; S Clavin, A Craig, J Birmingham; A Cox, D McNicholas (0-10, 0-7 frees); C Doyle (0-1), N Mitchell (0-1), R Greville; L Varley, D Clinton (1-2, 0-1 free) E Price (0-1).
Subs: J Boyle (1-0) for Varley (30 mins), D O’Reilly (0-1) for Mitchell (h-t), N Mitchell for Clinton (40), S McGovern for Price (48).
LAOIS: P Simms; A Connolly, F Flanagan, D Comerford; J Kelly, R Mullaney (0-1 free) E Killeen; F C Fennell, C Comerford; W Dunphy (0-2, one sideline), E Gaughan (1-6, 1-3 frees, 0-1 '65), A Dunphy (0-3); A Bergin, P Keating, J Keyes.
Subs: C McEvoy for Killeen (h-t), J Ryan or W Dunphy (38 mins), C Cosgrove for Kelly and M Hennessy for Bergin (both 54), D Hartnett for Mullaney (60), J Phelan for Keyes and C Rigneyfor A Dunphy (both 69).
Referee: Justin Heffernan (Wexford)