Westmeath's Boidu Sayeh grabs late goal for Westmeath to set up showdown with the Dubs
Westmeath 2-8 Meath 0-12
A fortuitous goal in the 56th minute from corner-back Boidu Sayeh was the key score as Westmeath advanced to meet Dublin in the Leinster U-21 football quarter-final after a two-point win over neighbours Meath in a game played in miserable weather at Lakepoint Park, Mullingar.
Meath looked set for to win when they led by three points midway through the second half. However, two converted frees by Darren Giles preceded the match-winning goal from Sayeh whose low-trajectory 30-metre shot, presumably for a point, squirmed through the hands of Meath goalie Jonathan Lynch.
Three players picked up straight red cards in the closing stages – Breen Conlon (Meath) in the 50th minute, and Finbar Coyne (Westmeath) and Robin Clarke (Meath) in the same incident with normal time almost up.
Earlier, the respective number 13s, Coyne and Conor Moriarty, equally shared the opening four points during the first nine minutes.
Both teams were struggling to cope with the driving rain and scores were proving hard to come by.
Meath took the lead for the first time in the 23rd when impressive midfielder Sean Reilly edged them ahead by 0-4 to 0-3.
Some two minutes later, a foul on the strong-running Coyne resulted in a penalty to the home team which was expertly converted by Ronan O’Toole.
However, a hitherto-wasteful Meath outfit finished the first half strongly with three unanswered points, the last of them with the final kick of the half from Thomas O’Reilly, leaving the visitors ahead by 0-7 to 1-3 at the interval.
The second half was a niggly affair as conditions worsened. Meath increased their lead to three points by the 33rd minute, but Westmeath responded well with three unanswered points from sub Ciaran Shanley, Finbar Coyne and Shane Clavin.
Scorers – Westmeath: B Sayeh, R O’Toole (pen) 1-0 each, F Coyne and D Giles (3f) 0-3 each, S Clavin, C Shanley 0-1 each.
Meath: T O’Reilly 0-4 (2f), D McLoughlin 0-3, S Reilly, C Moriarty 0-2 each, D Campion 0-1.
Westmeath – K Fagan; P Murray, R Wallace, B Sayeh; D Conway, M Kelly, I McGovern; N Mitchell, L O’Reilly; S Clavin, R O’Toole, E O’Brien; F Coyne, T Adamson, D Giles. Subs: C Shanley for Adamson (h-t), C Dillon for O’Brien (41), J Kearney for Clavin (41), M Darling for Conway (53), G Murray for McGovern (60 + 1).
Meath – J Lynch; E Greene, R Clarke, J Reilly; J Mooney, B Conlon, C Devlin; S Reilly, S Noonan; E Smyth, T O’Reilly, D Campion; C Moriarty, D McLoughlin, F Reilly. Subs: D O’Neill for Devlin (h-t), C Harnan for Greene (46), R Jones for Smyth (51), D McEntee for Reilly (51), J Scully for Moriarty (59), J McLoughlin for Noonan (60 + 3).
Ref – S Mulhare (Laois)