Sweet revenge for Dublin

Dublin 3-21 Westmeath 0-11

Dublin exacted revenge for a Leinster Hurling Championship defeat to Westmeath at the same venue two years ago, thanks to a superb second-half display at O'Moore Park today.

There may have been no monsoon or sub-aqua conditions like those experienced two years ago, but Dublin certainly sunk Westmeath's expectations and gave the Lake county a dose of the blues with three second half goals in a five-minute spell.

Westmeath were motoring nicely in the opening half and led by 0-8 to 0-7 at the interval with Andrew Mitchell on song with four points at that stage.

Interestingly, match referee Cathal McAlister of Cork played a few seconds short of the 35 minutes in the opening half and failed to play the minute of injury-time announced by the fourth official.

It mattered little as Dublin had huge dominance in the second half.

Indeed the sides had been level on five occasions during the first half in the 8th, 11th, 17th, 20th and 32nd minutes, as they both gave it their all and memories of a lob-sided opening encounter between Offaly and Laois, as part of the Portlaoise double-header, were erased.

It was all change in the second half however as Dublin outscored their midland counterparts by 2-14 to four points.

With just four Dublin points coming from placed balls - three of those from the hurley of Ronan Fallon (two 65s and one free), Dubs manager Tommy Naughton would certainly have been impressed by his side's scoring ratio.

David O'Callaghan's decision to opt for the Blues' hurling jersey this year reaped major dividends in this game and the Tallaght man finished the game with an impressive 1-6.

O'Callaghan led the charge and with three points within seven minutes of the restart, he ensured Dublin broke 0-11 to 0-8 clear.

The efforts of the Westmeath defence seemed limited, but at the opposite end a second Derek McNicholas point maintained that three-point gap a minute later.

Dublin were soon exerting more control and although Westmeath captain Brendan Murtagh contributed three valuable points - when he was introduced 21 minutes into the first half - it was another substitute on the opposite side, Ross O'Carroll, who was eager to impress.

O'Carroll contributed two fine points in succession in the 55th and 56th minutes as Dublin broke 0-16 to 0-10 clear.

Dublin's three-goal rush came soon after. They could do no wrong at this stage with a 63rd minute goal from half-forward James Burke firmly sealing the issue.

DUBLIN: G Maguire; N Corcoran, S Hiney, T Brady; M Carton, R Fallon (0-3, 0-2 '65', 0-1f), J Boland; J McCaffrey (0-1), S Lambert (0-2); J Burke (1-1), D Qualter, K Flynn (0-2); D O'Callaghan (1-6, 0-1f), J Kelly (1-1), P Carton (0-2).

Subs used: R O'Carroll (0-2) for Qualter (30 mins), D Curtin (0-1) for P Carton (56), P O'Driscoll for Lambert (65), G Bennett for McCaffrey (66).

WESTMEATH: M Briody; G Gavin, P Greville, A Price; D Curley, D McCormack, C Jordan; B Connaughton, E Loughlin; A Mitchell (0-4, 0-4f), L Smith, P Clarke (0-2); J Shaw, P Dowdall, D McNicholas (0-2).

Subs: B Murtagh (0-3) for Connaughton (21 mins), E Price for L Smith (51), J Clarke for Mitchell (58), B Smith for Jordan (65).

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)

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