Stephen Maher got Laois off to a great start today. Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Laois survive London scare to book Leinster SHC quarter-final spot

Westmeath, meanwhile, will have to playoff to avoid relegation to the Christy Ring Cup.

Laois 2-13

London 0-16

IT WASN’T JUST the sweltering temperatures that had Laois manager Seamus Plunkett sweating in Ruislip today as he watched his side squander a commanding 1-10 to 0-5 lead at the break to allow London fight back to within a goal by full-time.

Stephen Maher was in impressive form for the O’Moore County in the opening stages, slotting over five of their first six scores and, when Neil Foyle found the net in the 21st minute, Laois led by 1-8 to 0-3.

However, London found their range after the break and scored five points in the opening seven minutes and were back within three points when goalkeeper James Barrett nailed a long range free on 47 minutes.

That seemed to revitalise the visitors though and when John Brophy found the net three minutes later, the game looked over.

Tommy Harrell’s men will rue some wasteful finishing in the closing stages, hitting six wides in succession before Martin Duggan’s late effort on goal went out for a 65.

Laois will need to improve next week if they’re to earn the win or draw against Antrim that will see them finish first in the Leinster qualifying tournament. In that top-of-the-table clash, the winner will face Wexford in the provincial quarter-finals, the loser will play Galway.

Carlow 0-14

Westmeath 1-9

In today’s other game, 13-man Carlow gave themselves a chance of avoiding a relegation playoff with their first win of the qualifying tournament.

However, regardless of their result against London next week, the best Westmeath can hope for is a relegation playoff to avoid playing in the Christy Ring Cup after losing by two points in Dr. Cullen Park today.

If London beat Westmeath next weekend, Westmeath will be relegated and Carlow will have to playoff to save their Leinster qualifying status.

If Westmeath win, it is the Exiles who’ll be relegated with Westmeath going to a playoff while a draw would send Westmeath to the Christy Ring Cup and London into a playoff.

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