Dublin 4-12 Westmeath 1-4
Gregory McGonigle’s Dublin produced a clinical display against Westmeath to ensure they emerged unscathed from a weekend of shocks, writes Jackie Cahill.
Munster champions Kerry stunned All-Ireland holders Cork in the TG4 provincial championship on Friday evening before Cavan and Monaghan caused huge upsets in Saturday’s Ulster semi-finals, scoring victories over Donegal and Armagh respectively.
But there was no scare for Leinster champions Dublin at Cusack Park in Mullingar as they ran out 4-12 to 1-4 winners in a physical encounter.
Dublin will play Meath next Saturday in their final group game, with a Leinster final place already secured.
Heavy rain made playing conditions difficult for both sides but Dublin took over after Westmeath scored the opening point of the game through Karen Hegarty.
They led by 0-4 to 0-1 before the hosts rallied, Leona Archibold converting a 12th-minute penalty to level matters.
Dublin responded immediately with a goal of their own, Nicole Owens on target, and at half-time, the Jackies were 1-7 to 1-1 in front.
They lost the services of four-time All-Star Sinead Goldrick to injury, however, following a challenge that saw Westmeath’s Johanna Maher sin-binned.
Dublin turned up the heat in the second half as Westmeath managed just three further points.
Dublin tagged on 3-5 as Siobhán Woods finished with 2-2 and Sinead Aherne 1-3.
Woods scored the first of her two goals in the 39th minute and Dublin added a flattering look to the scoreboard in the closing minutes.
Aherne netted in the final minute of normal time and with almost three additional minutes played, Woods was on target to complete her brace.
Dublin scorers: S Woods 2-2, S Aherne 1-3 (0-3f), N Owens 1-0, C Rowe 0-3, L Davey & N Healy 0-2 each.
Westmeath scorers: L Archibold 1-2 (0-2f), C Blundell & K Hegarty 0-1 each.