Westmeath 0-10, Down 2-17:
"We certainly didn’t expect to win this game so comfortably. What we did in training during the week, the players did that to a tee today and that is very heartening, from a manager’s point of view."
That was the view of Down boss Jim McCorry as his side hammered Westmeath by 13 points at Mullingar’s Cusack Park yesterday, a win that leaves them top of Division 2.
The Ulster side led by five points, 0-9 to 0-4 at the break, but sealed victory with two goals inside a two-minute spell in the second half.
Arthur McConville finished off a good move in the 43rd minute and things went from bad to worse for the home side moments later as Donal O’Hare punched to the net from close range, after another fine Down passing move.
Westmeath boss Tom Cribbin slammed his players’ workrate. “You could see early on that some of our lads threw in the towel. Early in the second half, one or two things went wrong, and heads were dropping in different places. If you have a 15-wheel cog and two or three of them don’t work, it is going to fall asunder.”
Three first-half points by Mark Poland, two from Arthur McConville and one each from Donal O’Hare, Kevin McKernan, Conor Laverty and Barry O’Hagan saw Down lead by five at the break. Westmeath were reliant on Callum McCormack, John Heslin and sub Shane Dempsey, to keep them in contention. Quickfire strikes from McConville and Donal O’Hare saw the Down men surge ahead by 2-11 to 0-5 after 44 minutes .
O’Hare, Laverty and Paul Devlin increased the Down lead before Westmeath were reduced to 14 players when Kevin Maguire was sent off after 57 minutes.
With Peter Turley, Ryan Mallon, Laverty and O’Hare commanding all through, Down romped to an easy victory to stay top of Division 2, as Westmeath now hover just above the relegation zone.
Scorers for Down: D. O’Hare 1-4 (0-1 free), A. McConville 1-2, C. Laverty 0-4, M. Poland 0-3, B. O’Hagan 0-2, K. McKernan 0-1, P. Devlin 0-1 from a free.
Scorers for Westmeath: J. Heslin 0-4 all from frees, S. Dempsey 0-3, C. McCormack 0-2 (0-1 from a ’45), R. Connellan 0-1 from a free.
DOWN: S. Kane; G. Collins, L. Howard, D. Turley; P. Devlin, B. O’Hagan, C. Maginn; P. Turley, R. Mallon; C. McGovern, K. McKernan, M. Poland; C. Laverty, A. McConville, D. O’Hare.
Subs: M. Magee for P. Turley (58) , A. Carr for M. Poland (61) , C. Mooney for K. McKernan (black carded 61) , J. Johnston for A. McConville (63) , P. Downey for P. Turley (66) , R. McGarry for C. Laverty (69) .
WESTMEATH: G. Connaughton; M. McCallon, K. Maguire, K. Daly; P. Sharry, K. Martin, P. Holloway; D. Daly, R. Connellan; J. Gonoud, G. Egan, C. McCormack; D. Glennon, J. Heslin, L. Smyth.
Subs: D. McCormack for D. Daly (injured, 2) , S. Dempsey for L. Smyth (28) , F. Boyle for P. Holloway (34) , J. Gilligan for G. Egan (black carded 53) , J. Connellan for C. McCormack (58) .
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).
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