Saturday 21 October 2017

Westmeath survive Exiles scare with late Devine brace

Westmeath 2-12 London 1-12 Leinster SHC

London goalkeeper James Barrett clears the ball off the line. GAA Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Group, Round 5, Westmeath v London, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
London goalkeeper James Barrett clears the ball off the line. GAA Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Group, Round 5, Westmeath v London, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Eoin Price, Westmeath, in action against Philip Cocoman, left, and Enda Cooney, London. GAA Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Group, Round 5, Westmeath v London, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Darren Moore, London, remonstrates with referee Eamonn Hassan, hidden, before being sent off. GAA Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Group, Round 5, Westmeath v London, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Niall O'Brien, Westmeath, is shown the red card as he is sent off by referee Eamonn Hassan. GAA Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Group, Round 5, Westmeath v London, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Niall O'Brien, Westmeath, fouls James Barrett, London, for which he was shown a yellow card by referee Eamonn Hassan. GAA Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Group, Round 5, Westmeath v London, Cusack Park, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

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)

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