Westmeath hurlers are on the brink of reaching the quarter finals of the Leinster championship.
Coached by ex-Waterford boss Michael Ryan, they maintained their one hundred percent record in the preliminary round-robin series with a runaway 1-21 to 0-7 win over Antrim at Cusack Park, Mullingar.
The second qualifying spot remains up for grabs. After their shock loss away to Antrim last Sunday Laois got their campaign back on track when they withstood a late rally from Carlow to eke out a 1-17 to 1-14 win.
After back to back losses Carlow’s hopes of reaching the quarter finals have virtually disappeared.
In the final round of matches on May 24 Carlow are at home to Antrim while Portlaoise is the venue for the showdown between Laois and Westmeath.
The group winners face Offaly in the quarter finals while the runners-up take on Wexford.
Meanwhile, newly crowned Allianz League champions Waterford are coming to terms with the loss of ace marksman Pauric Mahony who is likely to miss the championship after sustaining a suspected broken tibia in a club game on Saturday night.
Mahony, Waterford’s top scorer in the Allianz League with 1-90, is expected to undergo surgery later this week and could be sidelined for up to six months.
He sustained the injury while playing for Ballygunner in the Waterford club championship.
His older brother Philip missed most of the 2014 season after breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle in a club game last year but he has since
returned to action for both his club and for Waterford.
Waterford meet Cork in a repeat of the League final in the semi-final of the Munster championship on June 7.