Darragh Clinton’s eight-point haul was decisive in Mullingar where Westmeath defied all expectation to hold out for a famous two-point point win to propel them through to a June 16 semi-final clash with Dublin or Wexford.
Kilkenny had a chance to win the game but sub Andrew Gaffney blasted a 76th minute penalty wide with the last puck. Free-taker John Walsh also blasted two great opportunities wide.
Kilkenny arrived at Cusack Park as strong favourites. Eddie Brennan’s side contained several All-Ireland minor medal winners from 2014 including corner-forward Walsh. He scored six points in the first half here but all came from placed balls as Kilkenny found it difficult to penetrate a Westmeath defence marshalled by Liam Varley.
Lake County senior Varley made some terrific high catches from Kilkenny puck-outs, prompting Cats boss Brennan to move ex-minor star Liam Blanchfield from wing-forward to centre-forward to deal with him.
Blanchfield did a little better on the Castletown-Geoghegan man though Westmeath were still good value for their 0-9 to 0-8 half-time lead.
All but one of Westmeath’s scores came from frees with Clinton converting seven of them and Varley launching another over from his own half.
Westmeath twice led by two points in the half despite. Ryan’s third point for Kilkenny tied it up at 0-9 apiece after the restart but Westmeath’s goal arrived in the 42nd minute to ignite the contest.
Casserly did superbly to field Killian Doyle’s long ball and apply a clever batted finish from close range.
Westmeath led 1-10 to 0-11 entering the final quarter but a lengthy stoppage for a head injury that forced Casserly to be removed on a stretcher. But they regained a three-point advantage through free-taker Clinton. The margin was reduced to two but they held on.
J. Walsh (0-6, 6 frees), B. Ryan (0-3), S. Morrissey (0-2), A. Gaffney (0-1, 1 65) Scorers for Westmeath: D. Clinton (0-8, 8 frees), W. Casserly (1-0), L. Varley (0-1), K. Doyle (0-1), C. Doyle (0-1) Kilkenny: D. Brennan; E. Cody, C. Delaney, H. Lalor; P. Lyng, J. Cleere, P. Deegan; C. Browne, E. Kenny; L. Blanchfield, S. Morrissey, N. Mullins; B. Ryan, A. Murphy, J. Walsh.
A. Gaffney for Kenny (h/t); K Blanchfield for Murphy (49); T Phelan for Mullins (59);
S. Maher; M. Heeney, C. Shaw, A. Cox; J. Rabbitte, L. Varley, R. Gillen; W. Casserly, K. Doyle; D. Egerton, L. Cassidy, N. Mitchell; D. Clinton, C. Doyle, J. Galvin. Subs: D. Giles for Heeney (29); P Lynam for Casserly (47);
B. O’Leary (Wexford).
Offaly 5-22 Kildare 1-12
Two goals inside 10 minutes from Oisin Kelly trumped Kildare full-back Conor Dowling’s 21st minute goal. Points from O’Hehir, Casey, and Byrne lifted Kildare to within two points by the 27th minute but Offaly’s Emmet Nolan reestablished their lead at the break (1-7 to 3-7) with a 28th minute goal.
With Emmet Nolan and Oisin Kelly adding further goals Offaly ran out comfortable winners.
Offaly: E. Nolan 2-7 (4f, 1 ’65), O. Kelly 3-1, D. Murray 0-3 (2f), P. Guinan 0-3, R. Hughes 0-3, C. Kiely 0-2; D. Wyer, A. Cleary and C. Freeman 0-1
C. Dowling 1-2, B. Byrne 0-5, R. Casey 0-2 (1f); E. O’Hehir, C. Egan and E. Dempsey 0-1 each
E. Cahill, C. Taylor, D. O’Toole, P. Delaney, D. Doughan, B. Conneely, J. Hardiman, D. Wyer, P. Guinan, J. O’Toole, E. Nolan, R. Hughes, A. Cleary, O. Kelly, D. Murray
C. Kiely for O’Toole (37m): C. Freeman for Murray (44m): E. Parlon for Hardiman (50m): C. Cleary for Kelly (55m)
J. Keane, C. Crogan, C. Dowling, K. Maher, L. Quinn, D. Brereton, C. Gordon, J. Reeves, J. Sheridan, E. O’Hehir, R. Casey, T. Brady, C. Egan, E. Dempsey
T. Forde for Crogan (h/t): F. Bass for Reeves (39m): M. Stapleton for O’Hehir (49m): C. Byrne for Gordon (55m) Ref: K. Brady (Louth)
Carlow 1-17 Laois 1-15
Carlow came from behind to inflict a shock defeat on Laois at Netwatch Cullen Park last night.
Carlow had their aces in James Doyle and Kevin McDonald with 0-5 between them in the first half but Laois were in front 0-12 to 0-9 at the interval.
With time ebbing away Doyle ran at the Laois defence and his low shot proved the winner for Carlow.
K.McDonald 0-9 (8fs), J.Doyle 1-4, E. Redmond, L. Galway, S. Brennan, O.Roberts Laois: M.Kavanagh 1-9 (7fs), G. Dunne, S. Downey, E. Fennelly, L.Bergin, R. Mullaney , S. Bergin 0-1.
J. Barron; P. Coughlan, G. Coady, M. Malone; E. Redmond, S. Whelan, A. Dunne (J.Murphy 53); K. McDonald, A. Amond (J.Whelan 35); J. Doyle, S. Brennan, C. Foley; L. Galway, J. Kelly (O. Roberts h/t), T. Joyce.
E. Rowland; D. Palmer, C. Phelan, R. Broderick; C. McEvoy, L. Bergin, R. Mullaney; G. Dunne (A. Mortimer h/t), S. Downey (K.Freeman 56); K. Duggan, S. Bergin, A. Corby (R. McEvoy 49); M. Kavanagh, J. Lennon, E. Fennelly (D. Quinlan 47).
K. Jones (Kildare).