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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 25 October 2020

Westmeath end 50-year wait with win in Laois while Antrim crush Meath in the Joe McDonagh Cup

Two Round 1 fixtures were down for decision on Saturday.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THERE WERE WINS for Antrim and Westmeath in the opening round of their respective Joe McDonagh Cup games.

Antrim put five goals past Meath in a comfortable 16-poin victory, while Westmeath ended a 50-year wait with a win over Laois in Portlaoise.

Meath 2-18 5-25 Antrim

Nigel Elliot hit a hat-trick, while Conor Johnston scored a brace of goals for Antrim, as they brushed Meath aside in Navan.

The home side made an encouraging start to the tie, with Gavin McGown and Alan Douglas combining to hit two goals in two minutes.

But Elliot’s first goal on 20 minutes brought Antrim back into contention and they capitalised on that momentum by scoring 1-7 without reply before the half-time break to give them a three-point lead at the break.

They picked up where they left off after the restart with Eoghan Campbell, Neil McManus, Conor McCann all tapping over scores.

Cathal McCabe and Ryan McCambridge Antrim and Meath players battling for possession. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

It was to get worse for Meath as they conceded two goals in less than a minute, with Elliot scoring his second along with the first of Johnston’s two goals to put Antrim 12 clear. Elliot completed his hat-trick shortly after as Antrim started pulling away.

Meath could do little to curtail the deficit but Jack Regan scored three points on the bounce, and split the post twice more before the end.

Johnston grabbed his second goal of the afternoon from the penalty spot just before the end of the game.

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Laois 1-21 2-21 Westmeath

Westmeath came away from Portlaoise with a victory for the first time in 50 years to get their Joe McDonagh Cup campaign off to a promising start.

Goals from Robbie Greville and Niall Mitchell proved to be the difference as the visitors earned a three-point win in the end.

Greville’s goal came after just six minutes to leave them 0-2 1-1 ahead and while Laois absorbed that early blow by claiming the next two scores, Westmeath responded again to establish a four-point lead by the 19th minute.

Neil Foyle found the net for Laois less than 10 minutes later to steal a two-point advantage for the home side, and further points from Willie Dunphy and and Cha Dwyer left the half-time scoreline reading 1-14 1-10 in favour of the hosts.

Westmeath made the better start to the second half following Mitchell’s goal which brought them to within one point of their opponents, and Mitchell was on hand again to push them into a 1-17 2-16 lead in the 47th minute.

There was no more than two scores between the sides heading into a tense final 20 minutes and they were level before Westmeath clinched three crucial points including efforts from Derek McNicholas and Greville to seal the win.

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