Cailean O'Boyle netted an early goal for Derry. ©INPHO/Presseye/Lorcan Doherty
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Goal-getters Derry tear Westmeath apart at Celtic Park

Early scores from Cailean O’Boyle and Benny Heron had the Oakleaf County in command.

Westmeath 0-12

Derry 3-16

DERRY SWEPT HOSTS Westmeath aside with a remarkable demonstration of scoring power at Celtic Park. Two goals in less than a minute had Derry flying in the early stages and, try as free-taker John Heslin might, the points kept coming from all over the pitch.

There was little sign of the early storm that lay in wait for Westmeath as John Heslin opened the scoring for the home side. The Oakleaf responded with two goals in 45 seconds to rock their hosts. Corner forward Cailean O’Boyle drilled in a score and Benny Heron repeated the trick as Derry claimed the kick-out.

Niall Bealin’s men were reeling and Kevin Johnson could have made it 3-0 to 0-1 after seven minutes but took the safer option on fisting the ball over the bar. Mark Lynch added a free before Westmeath had the post to thank as efforts from James Kielt and O’Boyle went close but not close enough.

Heslin and Kieran Martin got the Westmeath challenge back on track. The visitors responded, however, with a Lynch free and a superb score from play by O’Boyle. Kielt’s free and a fine team move, finished in point-scoring style by Emmett McGuckin, made it 2-6 to 0-4 before Ger Egan tagged a point back. With the half winding up, Lynch scored from play and was narrowly wide with a shot on goal. Heslin added two Westmeath points to make it 2-7 to 0-6 at the break but not before Johnson went agonisingly close to netting Derry’s third.

It was more of the same for Brian McIver’s men after the break. Aided for the final 35 minutes by a strong breeze, Kielt opened the scoring from long-range before Heslin responded with a free and Ger Egan pointed from play. Sean Leo McGoldrick got his first point of the game for Derry and Johnson popped over another. Enda Lynn joined the scoring party but Heslin was managing to keep his team’s side of the scoreboard busy with accurate frees.

The score stood at 2-11 to 0-8 when McGoldrick ended all hopes of a Westmeath comeback. He bore down on Stephen Gallagher’s goal before passing for McGuckin to fist home his side’s third goal. Dessie Dolan tried to spark his side but Thomas Mallon made a superb save to push the forward’s shot off the Derry crossbar. Lynn and Lynch widened the gap with points before McGoldrick made it 3-16 to 0-12 in the final minute of play.

Scorers for Westmeath: Heslin (0-7), Egan (0-2), Martin (0-1)

Scorers for Derry: O’Boyle (1-1), McGuckin (1-1), Lynch (0-4), Heron (1-0), Lynn, Kielt (0-3 each), Johnson, McGoldrick (0-2 each), McFaul (0-1).

Westmeath: Stephen Gallagher; Steven Gilmore, Kieran Gavin, Kevin Maguire; James Dolan, John Gilligan, John Egan; David Duffy, Paul Sharry; John Heslin, Ger Egan, Kieran Martin; Callum McCormack, Seanie Daly, Dessie Dolan.
Derry: Thomas Mallon; Mark Craig, Chrissy McKaigue, Dermot McBride; Kevin Johnson, Gerard O’Kane, Sean Leo McGoldrick; Fergal Doherty, Mark Lynch; Ciaran McFaul, James Kielt, Enda Lynn; Benny Heron, Emmett McGuckin, Cailean O’Boyle.

Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)

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