Westmeath prevail in Leinster quarter-final replay to set up clash with Dublin

Westmeath prevail in Leinster quarter-final replay to set up clash with Dublin

By Paul Keane

Westmeath 3-17 Offaly 0-15

Back-to-back All-Ireland champions Dublin will face old foes Westmeath next weekend after Tom Cribbin's side edged out Offaly at the second attempt in the Leinster quarter-finals.

Dublin and Westmeath have met in the last two provincial deciders and will reconvene at Croke Park tomorrow week in the last four of this year's Championship.

John Heslin's 1-6 haul was crucial at TEG Cusack Park where Westmeath saw off neighbours Offaly in a sun-soaked replay encounter.

There were just two points between the rivals with 54 minutes on the clock but substitute John Egan's goal put Westmeath in the clear.

Egan's major was expertly setup by Kieran Martin, who scored a late goal himself, while Heslin also crowned an excellent display with a goal for the hosts at the death.

Westmeath will still require a major improvement against Dublin while Offaly face a tricky test against Cavan next weekend in the qualifiers too.

Pat Flanagan's Offaly will take some heart from a strong final 15 minutes but the 63rd minute dismissal of Cian O'Donoghue for a second yellow dashed their hopes.

Westmeath prevail in Leinster quarter-final replay to set up clash with Dublin

Offaly will feel they blew their chance of progressing in the provincial championship six days ago in Tullamore when they drew with Westmeath despite finishing with 13 men.

They played catchup throughout this game in front of 4,714 and were only on level terms briefly early on at 0-2 apiece.

Heslin lined out at full-forward for Westmeath and caused Offaly all sorts of problems, going through different markers in the game.

He scored three first-half points, two from play, and won the free that he converted.

He also laid on the final pass for a Paul Sharry point and booted four wides also, indicating the amount of possessions he enjoyed in the half.

Ex-captain Sharry stroked over two frees with the aiding wind and Westmeath took a fully deserved 0-9 to 0-5 lead into the interval.

Callum McCormack, a late addition to the team in place of Shane Dempsey, hit Westmeath's first point and Frank Boyle struck a beauty from distance after coming on for the injured Paddy Holloway.

Westmeath drilled eight first-half wides though and were concerned that they may not have taken full advantage of the wind.

Nigel Dunne and Niall Darby pointed from frees for Offaly and there were scores from play from Graham Guilfoyle, Peter Cunningham and Michael Brazil.

But Offaly struggled for fluency generally and star attacker Niall McNamee made no impact and was replaced after 41 minutes.

Offaly edged the third quarter and actually reduced the deficit to just two points on two occasions, the second of which was when they trailed 0-13 to 0-11.

But that Egan goal was the game changer and even three points in a row from Offaly in reply couldn't haul the Faithful back into it.

Westmeath killed off the contest with 68th and 69th minute goals from Heslin and Martin, Heslin turning provider for the Margin goal, to gloss the scoreline.

Scorers for Westmeath: J. Heslin 1-6 (2 frees); K. Martin 1-2; J. Egan 1-0; P. Sharry 0-3 (2 '45); F. Boyle 0-2; C. McCormack, G. Egan, N. Mulligan, T McDaniel (0-1 each).

Scorers for Offaly: N. Dunne 0-5 (2 frees); P. Cunningham 0-4; S Doyle 0-2; G. Guilfoyle, C. McNamee, N. Darby (1 free), M. Brazil (0-1 each).

WESTMEATH: D. Quinn; K. Maguire, P. Holloway, J. Dolan; K. Daly, J. Gonoud, M. McCallon; A. Stone, G. Egan; K. Reilly, P. Sharry, A. Gaughan; K. Martin, J. Heslin, C. McCormack.

Subs: F. Boyle for Holloway (6); D. Glennon for McCormack (35+3); J. Egan for Reilly (h/t); T. McDaniel for Glennon (48); D. Lynch for Stone (50), N. Mulligan for Daly (51-53); Mulligan for Gaughan (69).

OFFALY: A. Mulhall; B. Darby, E. Rigney, S. Pender; N. Darby, P. Cunningham, C. Donoghue; C. McNamee, D. Hanlon; N. Dunne, J. Moloney, M. Brazil; R. Allen, G. Guilfoyle, N. McNamee.

Subs: J. Lalor for N. Darby (h/t); B. Allen for N. McNamee (41); A. Sullivan for Brazil (48); J. O'Connor for Rigney (56); S. Doyle for Moloney (59); D. Hogan for Hanlon (72).

Referee: R. Hickey (Clare).

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