Wednesday 20 September 2017

Watson leads Warwickshire's second-half surge to glory

Warwickshire 0-17 Leitrim 0-11: Lory Meagher Cup

Warwickshire manager Tony Joyce, centre, and his team celebrate after the Lory Meagher Cup Final match between Leitrim and Warwickshire at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
Warwickshire manager Tony Joyce, centre, and his team celebrate after the Lory Meagher Cup Final match between Leitrim and Warwickshire at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Former Antrim star Liam Watson converted 11 frees as Warwickshire brought the Cup across the Irish Sea for the second time. They dominated a one-sided second half at Croke Park, after the Connacht men had led by two points at the break.

Leitrim, who had to play the final 15 minutes with 14 men, scored just once in the second half as their challenge faded.

James Glancy of Leitrim in action against John Collins of Warwickshire during the Lory Meagher Cup Final match between Leitrim and Warwickshire at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile
James Glancy of Leitrim in action against John Collins of Warwickshire during the Lory Meagher Cup Final match between Leitrim and Warwickshire at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo: Sportsfile

Padraig O'Donnell and Watson each converted a couple of early frees, but Leitrim eased in front at the end of the opening quarter when Zak Moradi and Colm Moreton fired over tidy scores.

Ian Dwyer had a goal chance for Warwickshire, but saw his effort kept out by centre-back Conor Byrne. Watson fired over a couple of long-range frees to get them back on terms, with Donncha Kennedy and Shane Caulfield also chipping in with points.

Watson gave them the lead for the first time, but Leitrim finished the half strongly, with James Glancy hitting the target from distance, before O'Donnell added two more frees, giving them a 0-10 to 0-8 interval lead.

The Exiles moved up a couple of gears after the restart, with Kieran Boxwell and skipper Donncha Kennedy driving their challenge from deep.

Liam Watson of Warwickshire. Photo: Sportsfile
Liam Watson of Warwickshire. Photo: Sportsfile

Watson struck some immaculate frees between the posts at the Hill 16 end, including one from all of 100 metres, as they pulled away.

Leitrim were unable to revive their wilting challenge, and all hope was lost when centre-forward Colm Moreton received a second yellow card in the 58th minute.

Colm McBride and Ian Dwyer added to the Warwickshire tally, and Leitrim's only score of the second half came deep into stoppage-time from an O'Donnell free.

Scorers - Warwickshire: L Watson 0-11 (11f), S Caulfield 0-2, I Dwyer, D Kennedy, P Uniacke, C McBride 0-1 each. Leitrim: P O'Donnell 0-6 (6f), C O'Donovan 0-2, J Glancy, Z Moradi, C Moreton 0-1 each.

Warwickshire: M Cremin; T Kelly, D Bruen, M O'Regan; J Collins, W Allen, D Kennedy; K Boxwell, P Uniacke; S Caulfield, C Robbins, I Dwyer; E McCabe, L Watson, K Magee. Subs: C McBride for McCabe (51), S Hennessy for Magee (67), J Meagher for Boxwell (69), P Crehan for Dwyer (71), C Convery for Uniacke (72).

Leitrim: D Molloy; K McGrath, D Carton, V McDermott; E Moreton, C Byrne, D McGovern; L Moreton, J Glancy; C O'Donovan, C Moreton, K McDermott; P O'Donnell, C Cunniffe, Z Moradi. Subs: M Quinn for McDermott (50), G O'Hagan for L Moreton (52).

Referee: J Connors (Donegal).

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