Westmeath survive Exiles scare with late Devine brace
Westmeath 2-12 London 1-12 Leinster SHC
Both sides finished with 13 men and 11 players were booked, but this was not a bad-tempered encounter at Cusack Park in Mullingar yesterday.
London midfielder Darren Moore was harshly given a second yellow before the break, Westmeath midfielder Ciarán Curley was penalised for what was deemed a high tackle, while his team-mate Niall O'Brien got a second yellow for dissent, but London corner-back Conor Hickey could have few complaints for a straight red after a swipe at O'Brien.
The net result is that London are relegated to the Christy Ring Cup while Westmeath get one more chance to stay in next year's Leinster SHC when they take on the winners of this year's Christy Ring Cup. Westmeath were pushed all the way by a London side for whom Eoin Kelly from Lusmagh in Offaly was superb and his accuracy from frees meant that Brian Hanley's men, who wasted three good goal chances in the opening half, only hit the front 11 minutes from time.
They seemed set for an easy win when Alan Devine fired home two goals in the closing seven minutes but Westmeath, who trailed by 0-7 to 0-4, were made sweat it out when Kelly sent a 25-yard free to the net.
Scorers – Westmeath: A Devine 2-3, N O'Brien 0-4 (3f), A Clarke 0-3, L Varley, P Gilsenan 0-1 each. London: E Kelly 1-8 (1-7f), H Vaughan 0-2, M Duggan, D Egan 0-1 each.
Westmeath: P Collins; K Duncan, T Doyle, L Varley; P Reilly, A Craig, G Greville; P Gilsenan, C Curley; R Greville, E Price, A Clarke; A Devine, D McNicholas, N O'Brien. Sub: T Gallagher for McNicholas (53).
London: J Barrett; C Hickey, R Fox, C McAlinden; E Cooney, PJ Rowe, S Frawley; D Moore, D Egan; M Lynch, M Duggan, K Killilea; H Vaughan, E Kelly, P Cocoman. Subs: L Hands for Cocoman (47), B Regan for Lynch (50), P Barry for Vaughan (67), M Holohan for Killilea (68)
Referee: E Hassan (Derry)
Sunday Indo Sport