Westmeath 0-13 Offaly 0-12
Westmeath survived a poor second half performance to make it to a semi-final showdown with Kildare, write Daragh Ó Conchúir.
The Lakesiders only scored four points in that latter period, but had established enough of an advantage in the opening half to hold on.
The game ended in controversy though as Kieran Martin received a facial injury after the final whistle that left him bleeding.
Offaly were toothless in that first half and allowing for the fact that they were playing into a strong wind, the number of turnovers conceded made them toothless in attack.
The quality of football was largely awful in the first peroid, with the execution of basic passing skills with the hand, fist and boot shocking.
Most of the quality came from Westmeath, who were able to isolate John Heslin inside on Sean Pender early on and after lacking a bit of strength with an early sighter off his less natural left boot, the St Loman’s sharpshooter swung over a couple of wonderful scores to help Westmeath open up a gap.
He added two points from frees to augment efforts from Denis Corroon and the brilliant John Connellan and they led by 0-9 to 0-3 at the interval.
Offaly looked much more tuned in after the resumption and could have had a couple of goals early on.
James Dolan denied Graham Guilfoyle with a brilliant block and the half-back was incredible in that department, executing at least four blocks in the game.
Westmeath retreated and Nigel Dunne slotted frees to gradually claw Offaly back into it. Peter Cunningham and Niall McNamee also scored, while Heslin remained an isolated figure inside.
Martin came up with a big score though and it was fitting that Dolan was at the end of a good move involving Heslin and Corroon for what proved the winner, with Cunningham’s subsequent score leaving a point between them at the death.
Scorers for Westmeath: J Heslin 0-5(2fs); J Connellan 0-3; P Sharry 0-2(1 45); K Martin, J Dolan, D Corroon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: N Dunne 0-6(5 frees); P Cunningham 0-2; G Guilfoyle, B Allen, N McNamee, J Moloney 0-1 each.
WESTMEATH: D Quinn, K Daly, F Boyle, J Gonoud, J Dolan, A Stone, K Maguire, D Corroon, G Egan, D Lynch, J Connellan, C McCormack, P Sharry, K Martin, J Heslin.
OFFALY: A Mulhall, S Pender, E Rigney, B Darby, N Darby, P Cunningham, J O’Connor, N Smith, E Carroll, G Guilfoyle, N Dunne, M Brazil, B Allen, N McNamee, J Moloney.
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).