Westmeath 3-15 Carlow 1-10
Westmeath barely had to get out of a canter at Cusack Park as they had too much power and pace for a game, but limited, Carlow to book their Leinster quarter-final date with Dublin in a fortnight.
Although it took them a little while to impose themselves on the scoreboard, the Lakesiders dominated possession and were comfortable in most positions.
The only place that Carlow prospered in was at full-forward, where Brendan Murphy did well, scoring three points and setting up a goal before adding another wonderful score after being rerouted further out the field.
Carlow manager, Anthony Rainbow said afterwards that he would like to have 15 Brendan Murphys and that was a clear difficulty, as his side could not win enough possession to feed the former AFL man.
Westmeath had three points on the board by the seventh minute, thanks to the reliable partnership of Denis Glennon and Dessie Dolan.
Dolan looked quite sharp and finished with five points from play, with two of them in particular redolent of the Garrycastle marksman at his very best.
The hosts did get a shock when Murphy’s kick for a point dropped just short in the 11th minute. Gary Connaughton appeared to have command of the situation but Sean Glennon got a touch to flick the ball to the net.
With Ger Egan excelling in a play-making role, Westmeath gradually tagged on the points again, with John Heslin deadly accurate from frees.
They needed Kieran Martin’s 27th minute goal to put doubt in the minds of the Carlow players and he finished well after receiving Dolan’s lay-off.
Then the young Maryland player finished brilliantly into the same corner of the goal after Trevor O’Reilly’s poor kickout was intercepted by Egan, with the ball finding its way to Martin via Glennon.
It was 2-8 to 1-3 at half time and though Murphy tagged on two quick points, the second a fantastic effort after a strong fetch, Westmeath responded with points from James Dolan and Heslin (free) before the former found the net towards the end of the third quarter.
O’Reilly denied Martin a hat-trick late on and Heslin, Kevin Maguire and Paul Sharry all added points as Westmeath cruised to victory.
Scorers – Westmeath: K Martin 2-0; D Dolan, J Heslin (fs) 0-5 each; J Dolan 1-1; P Sharry, K Maguire, G Egan, D Glennon 0-1 each
Carlow: Brendan Murphy 0-5(1 45); S Gannon 1-0; Brian Murphy, D Foley (fs) 0-2 each; E Ruth 0-1
Westmeath: G Connaughton; M McCallon, K Gavin, K Maguire; D Harte, P Sharry, J Gaffey; D Duffy, J Heslin; K Martin, C McCormack, J Dolan; G Egan, D Glennon, D Dolan. Subs: D Corroon for Egan (54); C Curley for D Dolan (54); D Daly for Duffy (62); D Dolan for Harte (65); L Smith for Martin (65)
Carlow: T O’Reilly; S Mernagh, C Lawler, BJ O’Molloy; K Nolan, S Redmond, B Kavanagh; D Foley, J Murphy; Brian Murphy, P Reid, Eoghan Ruth; S Gannon, Brendan Murphy, D Hayden. Subs: J Kennedy for Reid (56); M Doyle for Molloy (60); A Kelly for J Murphy (66); T Bolger for Hayden (67); C Moran for Ruth (69)
Referee: C Branagan (Down)