Westmeath end league campaign with win over Premier

There was little on the line in Mullingar.
Westmeath end league campaign with win over Premier

Westmeath manager Dessie Dolan. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Westmeath 1-13 

Tipperary 0-10

Despite being a man down for more than half the game, Westmeath comfortably won a dead rubber Division 3 contest in very pleasant conditions in Mullingar, the Lake County surprisingly already out of contention for promotion and facing a side already relegated after five defeats and a draw to date.

Skerries Harps player Stephen Smith, replacing long-time talisman John Heslin, scored Westmeath's opening two points from a sixth-minute free and, some three minutes later, a neat finish from open play. Luke Loughlin pounced for the home team's third point in the 18th minute at the end of a patient move.

However, Dessie Dolan's troops were disjointed during the second quarter allowing the Premier County men to come right back into contention. A brace of terrific points from Stephen Quirke and Mikey O'Shea preceded the sending off of Westmeath wing back Anthony McGivney, who picked up his second yellow card in the 32nd minute. Jack Kennedy converted a 34th-minute free to tie up the scoring at 0-3 apiece at the end of a very low-key first half.

Ronan O'Toole had a 'point' disallowed from a successful free just 90 seconds after play resumed for taking the free from the wrong spot, but he made amends seconds later with a fine point from play. O'Toole went on to have a very good second half and, along with Loughlin in attack, they caused endless headaches for David Power's often-porous defence.

Centre half back Ronan Wallace also excelled in the second moiety during which he scored three outstanding points.

Westmeath deservedly led by 0-08 to 0-06 when Loughlin's precise pass picked out Lorcan Dolan who duly blasted the ball past Michael O'Reilly in the 50th minute. This effectively ended the game as a contest, despite fine free-taking by Kennedy at the other end just about keeping his side in touch. The winners were denied a second goal in the 68th minute, O'Reilly doing superbly to keep out a James Dolan shot at the end of a great move.

Both teams will now prepare for their respective provincial championships, while Westmeath have the luxury of knowing that their splendid Tailteann Cup win last year guarantees them Sam Maguire Cup action later in the summer.

Scorers - Westmeath: R O'Toole 0-4 (3f), L Dolan 1-0, R Wallace 0-3, L Loughlin, S Smith (1f) 0-2 each, S McCartan, S Dempsey 0-1 each.

Tipperary: J Kennedy 0-4 (4f), S Quirke 0-2, P Feehan, M O'Shea, C Deely, S O'Connor 0-1 each.

Westmeath: J Daly; D Giles, K Maguire, J Dolan; A McGivney, R Wallace (0-03), D Lynch; S McCartan, A McCormack; J Lynam, R O'Toole, R Forde; L Dolan, S Smith, L Loughlin. Subs: J Smith for McCormack (h-t), C Dillon for Forde (45), T Molloy for S Smith (58), S Dempsey for L Dolan (63), J Gonoud for Giles (65).

Tipperary: M O'Reilly; S O'Connell, J Feehan, W Eviston; J Harney, K Fahey, C O'Shaughnessy; P Feehan, M Russell; E Moloney, J Kennedy, K Ryan; M O'Shea, S Quirke, C Deely. Subs: T Maher for O'Connell (inj., 32), S O'Connor for Eviston (43), R Quigley for O'Shea (43), M Kehoe for Russell (54), C Cadell for Quirke (65).

Ref: C Dourneen (Cavan).

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