Sunday 26 March 2017

Westmeath withstand second half rally to claim the spoils in NHL Division 2A final

NHL DIVISION 2A: Westmeath 0-10 Carlow 0-8

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Westmeath's Tommy Doyle brings the cup back to the team dressing room after the game. Allianz Hurling League Division 2A Final, Carlow v Westmeath. O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
Westmeath's Tommy Doyle brings the cup back to the team dressing room after the game. Allianz Hurling League Division 2A Final, Carlow v Westmeath. O'Connor Park, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

It was far from a classic in Tullamore today as Westmeath were crowned National hurling league Division 2A champions but they were forced to battle both Carlow and the elements to hold out by two points.

It was a dogged and scrappy affair but with no shortage of desire on either side, Westmeath had that bit more class on the day and their 0-09  to 0-3 half time lead set up them up to hold on despite only scoring one point in the second half.

Westmeath started brightly with Brendan Murtagh leading the way but the struggled to open up a sizeable lead given the strong wind advantage they had in the opening half.  Three late points left them 0-9 to 0-3 up at the break but they were far from comfortable.

Carlow spurned three goal chances in the early stages of the second half but once Westmeath weathered that storm, they kept the Carlow men at arms length until the final stages.

Brendan Murtagh’s ’65 in the 42nd minute was the first and Westmeath’s only score of the second half and the game was heading for the final quarter when James Doyle ended a 35 minute scoreless spell for Carlow with a well taken point.

 Kevin McDonald landed four frees coming into the final stretch to make the last few minutes nerve tingling for Westmeath supporters but that elusive goal denied Carlow a wonder comeback.

Scorers:  Westmeath:  B Murtagh 0-7 (0-5f, 0-2 ‘65s), A Devine, E Price & C Boyle 0-1 each.

Carlow: K McDonald 0-4f, M Kavanagh 0-3 (0-2f), J Doyle 0-1.

WESTMEATH: P Moloney; T Gallagher, T Doyle, S Power; A Craig, A Clarke, A McGrath; G Greville, C Boyle; L Varley, D McNicholas, R Greville; A Devine, B Murtagh, E Price.

Subs: N O’Brien for McNicholas (23), N Dowdall for R Greville (57), D Egerton for Devine (61)

CARLOW:  J Barron; A Corcoran, M Ryan, G Coady; D Byrne, D English, J O’Hara; J Kavanagh, M Kavanagh; Seán Murphy, JM Nolan, K McDonald; J Doyle, Seamus Murphy, S Whelan.

Subs:  R Kelly for Whelan (ht), R Smithers for Seán Murphy (49)

Referee:  John Keane (Galway)

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