Dorney comes up trumps for Dublin
Ciaran Dorney may score many more goals but he will never score a better one than that which sealed victory for Dublin over Westmeath at Parnell Park yesterday.
It was the perfect score at a most opportune moment; Dublin were hanging on to a one-point lead by the skin of their teeth when Dorney finished an electrifying move with a goal two minutes from time.
"It was a classic goal and Ciaran took it brilliantly," said a happy Dublin manager, Jim Gavin, after the game as his team celebrated their success.
Dublin had been under massive pressure having had their six-point interval lead cut back to one by a rejuvenated Westmeath, and it was looking bad for the defending champions.
Westmeath's John Heslin was ruling the scene at midfield fetching everything in sight.
Twice before Dorney's goal Westmeath fluffed chances to take the lead, Tommy McDaniel and James Dolan both kicking narrowly wide.
Dublin needed to do something special and they did. The move was started by left half-back, Nicky Devereux, who won the ball in midfield and set off on a solo run which left a couple of Westmeath defenders in his wake.
On and on he went before moving the ball to substitute Jonathan McDermott who in turn flicked the ball to Dorney sprinting into space on his right.
As Dorney moved into the square it looked as if he would flick over for the insurance point but instead he showed massive conviction by drilling the ball high into the top corner of the net past Darren Quinn.
That goal ended the dream for Westeath, who will have reason to wonder how they were so lethargic in the first half and so brilliant in the second when Heslin, Paul Sharry, Conor Lynam, Kieran Martin and Dolan showed their special qualities.
Dublin's first-half dominance ensured they led at the interval by 0-9 to 0-3, Dean Rock showing his free-taking skills by knocking over four and then bringing his total to six with a couple more in the second period.
"We were under pressure for long periods in that second half, but I felt that our defence did a great job in keeping us in the game," said Gavin, who made a couple of astute substitutions in the second period to ensure Dublin held on to their lead until Dorney made his crucial contribution to proceedings.
Scorers -- Dublin: D Rock 0-6 (0-5f), C Dorney 1-1, J Cooper, J McCarthy, B O'Rorke (0-1f), D Quinn, T Furman 0-1 each. Westmeath: C Lynam 0-6 (0-4f), J Durkan, C McCormack, P Sharry 0-1 each.
Dublin -- V Whelan; E Culligan, R O'Carroll, J Cooper; D Nelson, M Coughlan, N Devereux; S Murray, J McCarthy; C Dorney, D Rock, G Sweeney; B O'Rorke, G McIntyre, D Quinn (Na Fianna). Subs: D Quinn for Quinn (23), T Furman for McIntyre (h-t), E Keogh for Coughlan (37), S McGuinness for Culligan (44), J McDermott for Keogh (54).
Westmeath -- D Quinn; B Moran, K Maguire, R Doyle; G Egan, K Martin, J Dolan; D Corroon, J Heslin; P Sharry, J Egan, C Lynam; I Coffey, C McCormack, J Durkan. Subs: L Smyth for Egan (h-t), T McDaniel for McCormack (52), S Mulvihill for Sharry (60).
REF -- D Brazil (Offaly).