Greville goal seals victory for Westmeath in tense derby
Westmeath1-9 Offaly 0-9
A 27th-minute goal from Paul Greville proved to be the decisive score as Westmeath edged out Offaly in a tense local derby, played in generally dry but very windy conditions in Mullingar.
Both sides struggled to adjust to the conditions in the opening quarter, at the end of which wind-assisted Offaly led by 0-2 to 0-1. Offaly doubled their advantage when Niall McNamee pointed after a quickly-taken '45 by Nigel Dunne before Michael Brazil made the most of a Westmeath defensive error to put his side three points clear.
In the 26th minute, Kieran Martin hit the junction of the crossbar and upright with a powerful shot, but Westmeath were not to be denied and, shortly afterwards, Shane Dempsey teed up Greville (who had come on for the black-carded John Heslin) and the replacement slapped the ball to the net. A point with the last kick of the half from Offaly's influential substitute Anton Sullivan left his side 0-7 to 1-3 ahead at the break.
A fisted point from Greville tied up the scoring within five minutes of the resumption. Westmeath snatched at a couple of good chances before Dempsey rounded off a patient move in the 49th minute with a fine point to put the home team in front for the first time.
Westmeath looked the more likely winners from then on and two quality points from Callum McCormack and James Dolan gave them a significant lift. Late in the game, Westmeath's Ray Connellan and Offaly's Niall Smith were black-carded in separate incidents - the latter could not be replaced as the visitors had used up their quota of subs.
Dempsey put Westmeath a goal to the good with his second point of the contest, but Denis Corroon spurned the chance to tap over an insurance point in added-time, unsuccessfully opting to try for a goal. However, Westmeath held on for a deserved win.
Scorers - Westmeath: P Greville 1-2 (1f), S Dempsey, G Egan 0-2 (2f) each, K Martin, C McCormack, J Dolan 0-1 each.
Offaly: A Sullivan 0-2, J Maher (f), J Moloney, E Carroll, G Guilfoyle, M Brazil, N McNamee, N Dunne (f) 0-1 each.
Westmeath - D Quinn 6; K Daly 7, F Boyle 6, K Maguire 7; D Lynch 6, P Holloway 7, J Dolan 7; D Corroon 6, D Daly 6; R Connellan 7, J Heslin 5, K Martin 7; G Egan 7, C McCormack 6, S Dempsey 7. Subs: P Greville 8 for Heslin (BC, 21), S Flanagan 6 for Martin (59), J Egan 6 for McCormack (61), A Stone NR for Connellan (BC, 66), R Foley NR for Dempsey (70).
Offaly - A Mulhall 6; B Darby 7, E Rigney 6, S Pender 6; N Darby 6, J Moloney 7, J O'Connor 6; E Carroll 7, J Gethings 5; G Guilfoyle 6, M Brazil 6, S Doyle 5; C McNamee 5, N Dunne 6, N McNamee 6. Subs: J Maher 6 for Doyle (26), A Sullivan 7 for C McNamee (29), N Smith 5 for Gethings (51), P Cunningham 6 for Dunne (53), W Mulhall 5 for Guilfoyle (61), N Bracken NR for Brazil (63).
Ref -K Murphy (Cork)