Dublin go through the gears to burn off Westmeath
Dublin 1-17 Westmeath 1-8 Leinster MHC Semi-Final
A dominant third quarter helped Dublin comfortably account for Westmeath in Cusack Park, Mullingar.
The visitors looked in difficulty at the interval as they led by just two points, having played with the benefit of a strong breeze in the opening half.
However, they assumed complete control of affairs upon the restart as they conceded just four points, while at the opposite end their marksmanship improved, with Donal Burke's 45th-minute goal effectively settling the tie.
Central to Dublin's dominance was the influence that their half-back line exerted on the match, with Eoin Foley and Paddy Smyth hugely influential.
Dublin took the lead through Gavin King's second-minute free.
A superb score by Conor Burke doubled their advantage soon afterwards and the excellent Mark Maguire left three points between the teams with the first of a trio of sublime scores by the St Jude's player.
The hosts struggled in terms of possession initially but, after Killian Doyle had spurned a glorious goal chance in the eighth minute, some sloppy defensive play by Dublin allowed Niall Mitchell to fire home a cracking goal six minutes later.
Despite points in reply by Matthew Oliver and Maguire, Dublin's shooting became progressively erratic, with Westmeath reducing their arrears to 0-9 to 1-4 thanks to scores from Ciaran Doyle and James Goonery.
Far from building on this platform, though, Westmeath were a shadow of their first-half selves as they allowed Dublin to regain the initiative in the second half through an immediate point by substitute Eoghan Dunne and three successive points by Donal Burke.
Burke then landed the decisive score of the match in the 45th minute as he prodded the ball home from close range after Westmeath had dealt unconvincingly with a blocked delivery from Conor Burke.
It proved far too comfortable for Dublin from that point on.
The 53rd-minute dismissal of corner-forward Paddy Doody following a reckless challenge on Conor Ryan completed a disappointing afternoon for Westmeath.
Scorers - Dublin: D Burke 1-5 (0-4fs), M Oliver (3fs), M Maguire 0-3 each, C Burke, G King (f), E Conroy, E Dunne, A Mellett, C Ryan 0-1 each. Westmeath: N Mitchell 1-1 (0-1f), C Doyle 0-4(4fs), K Doyle 0-2, J Goonery 0-1.
Dublin - E Skelly; C Hendricken, C Brady, C Ryan; E Foley, P Smyth, S Hickey; M Oliver, F Whitely; E Conroy, M Maguire, D Burke; A Considine, C Burke, G King. Subs: E Dunne for King (half-time), C Sammon for Oliver (39), D Butler for Hickey (41), A Mellett for C Burke (50), C Dowling for Maguire (54),
Westmeath - A McHugh; D Qamar, K Regan, S Lancaster; J Bermingham, P Scally, D Egerton; J Rabbitte, J O'Brien; K Doyle, C Doyle, N Mitchell; J Goonery, J McCarthy, P Doody. Subs: C Kane for McCarthy (49), F Dowd for Rabbitte (58),
Ref - M O'Sullivan (Kilkenny)