Dominant Dublin in seventh heaven
Dublin 5-11 Westmeath 2-8
Dublin manager, Mick Bohan, believes the new super 12 series is just what Dublin need as they head into the business end of the championship this month.
Having secured their seventh successive provincial title in Carlow on Sunday afternoon, Dublin now have a three break before taking on Cavan and then Mayo and the reformatted championship.
Four groups made of three with two teams to go through to the quarter finals which Bohan believes will be ideal for Dublin's preparations as they aim to make it back to back Brendan Martin Cup titles.
'Im glad of the new format, i certainly wouldn't like to be going into the quarter final without games obviously in the group system of three two go through so its probably a little more forgiving for teams trying to get their systems in place so we start off in three weeks time in Cavan' said Bohan after the game..
Bohan paid tribute to two goal hero, Niamh McEvoy (with Sylvesters club mate Sinead Aherne also getting in on the scoring act) but believes Dublin were less than perfrect albeit in what were searing temperatures at Netwatch cullen park.
'She had a fine afternoon, I'm delighted for Maccer. As an invididual she works so hard and I thought Siobhan McGrath was excellent and Martha Byrne was excellent but it was a little bit sporadic and it certainly was's the cohesion that we have been used to at this stage so we have plenty of work to do.'
Nonetheless Bohan believes the long gap between Dublin's league final win over Mayo and their championship bow was a factor on the day.
'First of all we ware very happy to be moving on to the next stage but you could certainly see rustiness probably from both teams, there was a long gap between the national league and today, it was nine weeks and probably a bit longer for Westmeath'
In contrast to last year's decider between the two when Dublin all but the game over by half time, Sunday's affair was less conclusive despite what the scoreline might suggest.
Admittedly they couldnt have asked for a better start when McEvoy who was a constant menace through the middle, came through at pace before driving home past Karen Walsh in the Westmeath goal.
However the Lake county girls led by captain Laura Lee Walsh proved stubborn customers and it needed some terrific work by the Dublin forwards (Lynsdey Davey was particularly effective in the sweeper role) to plug the gap.
And while Davey would set up Noelle Healy for Dublin's second goal just on 28 minutes to move Dublin's lead out to seven points, Westmeath were still well within the game.
Indeed with half time approaching there was only a score separating the sides after Aoife Connolly, one of three changes to the Westmeath team named in the match day programme, collected off a kickout.
She had only one thing in mind and having charged through the middle she beat Ciara Trant with an emphatic finish.
Crucially Dublin would close out the half with a point from Sinead Aherne before Davey dlived Dublin's third two minutes into stoppage time with a precision finish to leave Dublin up by 3-5 to 1-4 up at the break.
It would give Dublin that extra bit of breath space which they needed with Dublin conceding quite a number of frees in an erratic first period.
But by the 41st minute, Dublin had opened up double digits lead, 4-6 to 1-5 after McEvoy had produced another brilliant finish which was well received on the sidelines from Dublin free taker and boyfriend, Dean Rock.
McEvoy then selflessly gave up the chance up hat trick to set up Aherne for a fisted goal in the first minute of stoppage time before Leanna Slevin landed a late consolation penalty after corner back Nicole Feery had been pulled down as she charged through on goal.
Dublin: Ciara Trant; Martha Byrne, Sinead Finnegan, Laura McGinley; Sinead Goldrick, Deirdre Murphy, Leah Caffrey; Olwen Carey, Niamh McEvoy 2-1; Nicole Owens 0-1, Siobhan McGrath, Hannah O'Neill; Sinead Aherne 1-5(0-2f), Noelle Healy 1-2, Lynsdey Davey 1-0. Subs: Carla Rowe for O'Neill (25), Niamh Collins for Murphy (HT), Lauren Magee for Carey (39), Amy Connolly 0-1for Owens (41), Muireann Ni Scanaill for Caffrey (50).
Westmeath: Karen Walsh; Lucy Power, Jennifer Rogers, Rachel Dillon; Fiona Coyle, Karen McDermott, Nicole Feery; Vicky Carr, Fiona Claffey; Aannie Dolan 0-1, Leanne Slevin 1-3(1-0 pen, 0-1f, Maud Anne Foley 0-1; Aoife Connolly 1-2(0-2f), Laura Walsh, Lucky M McCartan. Subs: Anna Jones for Carr (30), Ciara Blundell for Connolly (45), Jo-Hannah Maher 0-1 for Dolan (45), Ashley Ruane for Power (52).
Referee: Stephen McNulty (Wicklow).