McGoldrick orchestrates stroll after Derry burst from the traps
Derry 3-16 Westmeath 0-12
A stunning burst from the traps saw Derry all but put this game to bed inside five minutes at Celtic Park.
Goals from Cailean O'Boyle and Benny Heron in third and fourth minutes left Westmeath reeling as Brian McIver's Oak Leaf men put them to the sword with some scintillating football.
By the 22-minute mark, when Derry led by 2-6 to 0-3, the game was over as a contest. Only the margin of victory was left to be decided and, in truth, the Ulster side could have had added even more goals to their tally long before Emmett McGuckin claimed their third major in the 48th minute.
John Heslin got Westmeath on the board in the first minute, before Derry blitzed them with those early goals. From the Oak Leafers' first attack Ciaran McFaul's ball found O'Boyle who rifled to the net.
Sixty seconds later the ball was in the Westmeath goal again. A flowing move involving James Kielt and O'Boyle finished with Heron blasting home from close range. It could have been even worse for Westmeath in the seventh minute, but Derry half-back Kevin Johnston fisted the ball over the bar when one-on-one with Stephen Gallagher in the Westmeath goal.
When Mark Lynch clipped over an eighth-minute free Derry were 2-2 to 0-1 to the good after eight minutes.
Points from a Heslin free and Kieran Martin interrupted the flow of Derry scores, but Mark Lynch (free), O'Boyle, a James Kielt free and McGuckin all pointed in quick succession for the hosts.
Westmeath did get three of the last four scores of the second half through Ger Egan and two Heslin frees, but aside from one incident where Chrissy McKaigue looked fortunate to escape sanction for a sliding challenge, Derry looked unruffled as they led by 2-7 to 0-6 at the interval.
Kielt opened Derry's second-half account and while Heslin's free-taking and another Egan point kept the margin down, the Oak Leafers were still well on top as Lynch, Enda Lynn and McFaul all pointed. Any hope of a fightback for the visitors was extinguished when McGuckin fisted home from Aidan McAlynn's pass for Derry's third goal and a 3-11 to 0-9 lead on 48 minutes.
With the outstanding Sean Leo McGoldrick orchestrating from half-back, Derry played some scintillating football and even though some of the sting went out of the game, the hosts continued to register impressive scores, including an absolute peach off the outside of McFaul's foot.
Derry have tough challenges to come with a trip to Cork and visit from Dublin looming, but with five points from six they look well on their way to securing their top-flight status, while Westmeath face a real battle to avoid an immediate return to Division 2.
SCORERS – Derry: M Lynch 0-6, E McGuckin, C O'Boyle 1-1 each, B Heron 1-0, E Lynn, C McFaul, J Kielt (1f) 0-2 each, K Johnston, S L McGoldrick 0-1 each. Westmeath: J Heslin 0-7 (6fs), G Egan 0-2, C Martin J Dolan, D Dolan 0-1 each.
Derry – T Mallon 7; M Craig 7, C McKaigue 8, D McBride 7; K Johnston 8, A McAlynn 7, SL McGoldrick 9; F Doherty 7, M Lynch 7; C McFaul 8, J Kielt 7, E Lynn 7; B Heron 7, E McGuckin 7, C O'Boyle 8. Subs: Patsy Bradley 6 for Doherty (49), C Kielt 6 for Johnston (54), N Holly 6 for J Kielt (54), A Kerrigan 6 for Lynn (57), O Duffy 6 for McKaigue (63), C McWilliams 6 for McAlynn (63)
Westmeath – S Gallagher 6; S Gilmore 5, K Gavin 5, K Maguire 5; J Dolan 5, J Gilligan 65, J Egan 5; D Duffy 6, P Sharry 5; J Heslin 7, G Egan 6, K Martin 6; C McCormack 5, R Connellan 5, D Dolan 5. Subs: J Gonoud 5 for J Egan (37), D McCormack 5 for Connellan (45), S Flynn 5 for Sharry (47), G Hoey 5 for Martin, D Coroon 5 for C McCormack both (49)
Ref – M Duffy (Sligo).