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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 17 December, 2018

Westmeath hit Offaly with 3 second-half goals to book Dublin showdown

Westmeath had 11 points to spare over the Faithful.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Westmeath 3-17

Offaly 0-15

Kevin O’Brien reports from TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar

THREE SECOND-HALF goals propelled Westmeath past Offaly to set up a battle next Sunday against Dublin.

For the second straight year, Westmeath dumped Offaly out of the Leinster SFC, this time with an 11-point victory in the quarter-final replay.

Westmeath will take on Dublin for a third year in succession in the province, while Offaly face Cavan in the backdoor on Saturday evening.

John Egan’s goal midway through the second-half proved critical for the victors, who bagged late goals from John Heslin and Kieran Martin as Offaly chased the game.

Heslin finished with 1-6 without ever cutting loose, while Martin (1-2) and Frank Boyle (0-2) also impressed for the winners.

Peter Cunningham was Offaly’s best player by far. He kicked four points from play and won a number of dangerous frees from his driving runs down the heart of the opposition defence.

Offaly lined out with Ruairi Allen as a sweeper in the opening half against the breeze but they went more conventional after the interval. That decision vastly improved their attacking play, but proved costly at the far end Westmeath tore them open on a number of occasions in the second period.

Westmeath led by four 0-9 to 0-5 after a wind-assisted first period, but Offaly were within two points on 51 minutes.

Kieran Martin and Sean Pender Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Egan’s break-away goal pushed Westmeath six in front, but the underdogs refused to die and whittled that lead down to three heading into the final ten minutes.

Westmeath sat deep and hit the visitors with counter-attacking two goals down the stretch.

On a sour note for Tom Cribbin, they lost Paddy Holloway, Callum McCormack and Denis Glennon to injuries during this tie. With just one week to prepare for the Dubs, all three will face a race against time to prove their fitness for the Croke Park encounter.

The sides were level at 0-2 apiece after the opening 10 minutes before Westmeath’s direct style of play began to reap dividends. Heslin (2), Martin and Sharry were among the scores as the home outfit raced into a four point lead.

Cunningham and Brazil popped over scores as Offaly’s running game improved before the half, where they trailed by 0-9 to 0-5 at the interval.

Eoin Rigney and John Heslin Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Faithful were impressive after the restart, adding five points by the 45th minute to leave when within two.

Egan’s goal on 55 minutes was laid on a plate by Kieran Martin, who skinned Sean Pender and hand-passed across the goal for an easy finish.

Heslin added a point from close range a minute later, to leave Westmeath 1-14 to 0-11 in front.

Offaly’s response was excellent and scores followed from Sean Doyle and Dunne, before Cunningham stroked over a stunning effort off the left.

Westmeath put a gloss on the win with late goals arriving from Heslin and Martin to sealed their progression into the semi-final.

Scorers for Westmeath: John Heslin 1-6 (0-2f), Paul Sharry 0-3 (0-2 45), Kieran Martin 1-2, John Egan 1-0, Frank Boyle 0-2, Ger Egan, Noel Mulligan, Callum McCormack and Tommy McDaniel 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: Nigel Dunne 0-5 (0-3f), Peter Cunningham 0-4, Bernard Allen 0-2, Graham Guilfoyle, Niall Darby (f), Michael Brazil, Conor McNamee 0-1 each.


1. Darren Quinn (Tyrrellspass)

2. Jamie Gonoud (Tyrrellspass)
3. Kevin Maguire (Caulry)
5. Mark McCallon (Garrycastle)

4. Killian Daly (Mullingar Shamrocks)
6. Paddy Holloway (St Loman’s Mullingar)
7. James Dolan (Garrycastle)

8. Alan Stone (Castledaly)
9. Ger Egan (Tyrrellspass)

10. Kevin Reilly (St Loman’s Mullingar)
11. Paul Sharry (St Loman’s Mullingar)
22. Alan Gaughan (Athlone)

13. Kieran Martin (Maryland)
14. John Heslin (St Loman’s Mullingar)
23. Callum McCormack (Maryland)


17. Frank Boyle (Killucan) for Holloway (inj) (5)
24. Denis Glennon (Tyrrellspass) for McCormack (inj) (35+2)
20. John Egan (Ahtlone) for Reilly (ht)
25. Tommy McDaniel (Ballinagore) for Glennon (inj) (48)
19. David Lynch (St Malachys) for Stone (50)
12. Noel Mulligan (Athlone) for Daly (blood-sub) (51 – 53)
12. Mulligan for Gaughan (68)


1. Alan Mulhall (Walsh Island)

2. Brian Darby (Rhode)
3. Eoin Rigney (Rhode)
4. Sean Pender (Edenderry)

10. Ruairi Allen (Gracefield)

5. Niall Darby (Rhode)
6. Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh)
7. Cian Donohue (St Brigid’s)

8. Conor McNamee (Rhode)
9. David Hanlon (Edenderry)

14. Nigel Dunne (Shamrocks)
13. John Moloney (Tullamore)
12. Michael Brazil (Tullamore)

11. Graham Guilfoyle (Clara)
15. Niall McNamee (Rhode)


17. James Lalor for Niall Darby (ht)
24. Bernard Allen for Niall McNamee (42)
25. Anton Sullivan (Rhode) for Brazil (48)
22. Joseph O’Connor for Rigney (58)
23. Sean Doyle for Moloney (61)
19. Declan Hogan for Hanlon (71)

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).

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Kevin O'Brien

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