Gavin lip service can’t hide the truth

Dublin 1-22 Westmeath 0-9

Gavin lip service can’t hide the truth

Prior to it, he had referred to Dublin’s opponents as Division 1 material considering they earned promotion to the top flight next year.

But the gulf in class between the counties was exposed in brutal fashion as Dublin steamrolled Westmeath and yet the 16-point gap between them at the end could have been wider.

In front of a 33,008 Croke Park crowd, Diarmuid Connolly had three goal attempts but saw two shots go wide and one saved by Gary Connaughton.

Paddy Andrews eventually found the opposition net in the penultimate minute of normal time but by that stage everything had been done and dusted for quite some time.

Yet Gavin could pick areas for improvement in the performance. “Our conversion rate is still not what it should be. We created lots of chances and didn’t take them so that was one disappointing aspect, goal chances as well that we could have got a few more. That is stuff we can bring back to the park and try work on.”

If the attack were letting too much go, the Dublin defence were the better department with Westmeath held scoreless until the 24th minute.

By that time, Dublin were 0-8 to 0-0 up, coasting and tagged on another four to the same amount Westmeath finished before the break to leave it 0-12 to 0-4.

After a shaky start, John Heslin began to find his range from frees but that, for the most part, was what Westmeath were reduced to as they struggled to match the relentless Dublin waves of attack.

Bernard Brogan wasn’t at his best but he finished the evening top scorer while Andrews indicated he might be able to replicate his good league form into the Championship.

Gavin’s decision to bring Andrews in from the cold has been justified so far. “Paddy is a quality player, always was. I had him at underage as well and he was always a talented player,” Gavin said.

“He is working very hard at his game and he knows as well as any of the Dublin players they are only as good as their last game. He has been very diligent so far and I’m sure he will continue to do that.”

Dublin’s athleticism and determination to transfer the ball as quickly as possible into their forward line constantly had Westmeath on the backfoot.

The speed of the delivery was spellbinding at times not to mention their accuracy as much as they clocked up nine wides.

A Heslin-led effort hinted at a revival in the early second half and they cut the deficit to six but it was increased again via Brogan, Connolly and Paul Flynn.

All the starting forward line had inked their names on the scoresheet by the 58th minute when Ciarán Kilkenny fired over to extend their lead to nine.

Dublin’s reserves certainly didn’t let the side down, especially Dean Rock who bagged two points for himself and laid on the ball for Andrews’ goal.

Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan 0-7 (5f); P Andrews 1-3; P Flynn, D Connolly 0-3 each; D Rock 0-2 (1f); P Mannion, J McCaffrey, C O’Sullivan, C Kilkenny 0-1 each.

Subs for Dublin: K O’Brien for Daly (44); N Devereux for McCarthy (49); D Rock for Mannion (54); D Bastick for Macauley (inj 55); C Costello for Brogan (61).

Scorers for Westmeath: J Heslin 0-5 (frees); D Glennon 0-2; K Martin, D Corroon 0-1 each.

Subs for Westmeath: D Corroon for Curley, Darragh Daly for Duffy, Damian Dolan for Harte (all 48); P Bannon for Egan (61); A Purcell for McCallon (65).

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois)

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