Mayo go through to Christy Ring quarter-finals

Mayo 2-20 Westmeath 0-15

Mayo 2-20 Westmeath 0-15

Mayo qualified for the Christy Ring Cup quarter-finals when they turned on the style in the second half at Westport.

A string of spectacular points from Adrian Freeman and Keith Higgins carried the Connacht men into the last eight, and brought Westmeath’s challenge to the end of the road.

Two goals in the space of two minutes from Mark Devaney and Derek McDonnell gave them an early platform, and they led by 2-8 to 0-6 at half-time.

Westmeath’s challenge faded after they were reduced to 14 men with the second yellow card dismissal of Darren McCormack early in the second half.

Devaney grabbed th opening goal in the ninth minute, and the Leinster men had barely recovered when they were hit with a second hammer blow when McDonnell found the net.

A couple of Andrew Mitchell frees kept Westmeaqth in touch, with Robbie Jackson also hitting two points, but it was Mayo who held a commanding position at the break, ahead by 2-8 to 0-6.

The visitors suffered a second setback five minutes into the second half when classy attacker Darren McCormack picked up a second booking, but points from Brendan Murtagh, Brian Connaughton and Mitchell kept their challenge alive.

But Mayo dominated the final fifteen minutes, with dual star Keith Higgins hitting some delightful long range points, and substitute Stephen Broderick striking two.

Westmeath went for goal, and were denied when Mayo goalkeeper Michael Walsh produced a stunning save from Derek McNicholas.

Mayo: M Walsh, D Walsh, A Connolly, P Hunt, B Higgins (0-1), P Barrett, C Ryan, K Higgins (0-5, 2f), P Higgins (0-1), E Madigan (0-1), D McDonnell, D McConn (0-1), A Freeman 0-6 (4f), D Dowling, M Devaney (1-2).

Subs: S Broderick (0-3 for Dowling, C Freeman for Madigan, C Hynes for McDonnell.

Westmeath: P Burke, E Rice, P Greville, G Gavin, A Price, A Mitchell (0-6, 5f, 1 ‘65’), R Jackson (0-3), C Jordan, B Connaughton (0-1), J Shaw, B Murtagh (0-2, 1f), K Cosgrove (0-1), D McCormack (0-1), B Smith, C Curley.

Subs: D McNicholas (0-1) for Curley, B Smith for Price, D Kilcoyne for Jackson.

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