Dolan leads rampage as Slashers cut to pieces
Garrycastle 4-11 Longford Slashers 1-6
Leinster club SFC quarter-final
Fresh from completing a hat-trick of Westmeath titles, Garrycastle served notice that they are again serious contenders for the provincial crown with this comprehensive victory in Mullingar.
Despite playing against the wind in the opening half-hour, Garrycastle (under the guidance of new Galway senior hurling manager Anthony Cunningham) were by far the better team.
They ran the visitors ragged, and rare Longford Slashers forays into opposition territory were comfortably dealt with by Doran Harte and his defensive colleagues.
With former Westmeath captain David O'Shaughnessy ruling the roost at midfield, the home side were dominant throughout the pitch, and a clinical brace of goals from James Dolan in the 24th and 31st minutes helped Garrycastle to a fully merited nine-point lead at the interval (2-7 to 0-4).
The Longford men, who looked ring rusty in the first half after their nine-week wait since winning their county title, were much improved on the change of ends. Indeed, they were unfortunate not to score a few goals as they whittled down the winners' lead.
Their only three-pointer came from substitute Martin Nevin in the 38th minute, but it took a great goal-line clearance from captain John Gaffey to keep out what looked like a certain goal from another substitute, Philip Dobson, five minutes later.
But Garrycastle regained control courtesy of a soft goal from a free virtually on the sideline from James Duignan with eight minutes left, after one of many fouls committed on the ever-dangerous Dessie Dolan.
Alan Daly added another goal five minutes later as the Westmeath men eased their way to a flattering 14-point win.
Afterwards, Cunningham -- who intends to double-job, at least for the remainder of Garrycastle's campaign -- said: "One or two things didn't go our way last year (a semi-final loss to Kilmacud Crokes) and the year before (a final loss to Portlaoise), but it's one game at a time before we talk of the possibility of winning Leinster."
Scorers -- Garrycastle: J Dolan 2-1, D Dolan 0-3 (2f), J Duignan 1-1 (1-0f), A Daly 1-0, D O'Shaughnessy 0-2, K Henson, D Harte, C Cosgrove, T McHugh 0-1 each. Longford Slashers: M Nevin 1-1, M Smith 0-3 (2f), C Smith 0-2 (1f).
Garrycastle -- C Mullin; M McCallon, J Gaffey, A Fox; K Henson, D Harte, E Mulvihill; S O'Donoghue, D O'Shaughnessy; J Duignan, G Dolan, R McGowan; P Mulvihill, J Dolan, D Dolan. Subs: C Cosgrove for P Mulvihill (43), T McHugh for Fox (48), A Daly for G Dolan (53), J O'Shaughnessy for E Mulvihill (54), J McAteer for McGowan (59).
Longford Slashers -- C Farrell; S Flynn, B Gilleran, G Ghee; P Brady, D Brady, P Kelly; N Mulligan, D Sheridan; B Farrell, C Smith, T Clendenning; M Smith, S Phillips, M Tarmey. Subs: M Nevin for Tarmey (28), C Clarke for Flynn (28), P Dobson for Phillips (40), R Barrins for Farrell (59), A Murphy for Sheridan (60).
Ref -- E Kinsella (Laois).