Tuesday 23 January 2018

Kilkenny turns on style to end Westmeath fightback

Leinster U-21 FC

Jack McCaffrey bursts past
Westmeath's John Heslin
and Alan Stone
Jack McCaffrey bursts past Westmeath's John Heslin and Alan Stone

DUBLIN survived a first-half scare before killing off Westmeath in Portlaoise.

When the Dubs led by eight points after only six minutes, it looked like it was all over -- but a battling revival had Westmeath level by the 29th minute.

But Westmeath's hopes were shattered by Aussie Rules target Ciaran Kilkenny (19), who scored 1-5 from play as the Dubs cruised into the decider.

A sensational first half began with a goal for Dubs star Mark Schutte after just 25 seconds.

Emmet O Conghaile clipped over a fine point, and in the third minute Jack McCaffrey added a second goal. When Paul Hudson landed a free in the sixth minute the Dubs were 2-2 to 0-0 ahead and coasting.

But a shell-shocked Westmeath delivered an explosive response when, after points from Seanie Daly and Callum McCormack, a high ball was fumbled and Kevin Reilly pounced to fire home.

With Dublin losing O Conghaile to injury, Westmeath were transformed and pulled level through a couple of John Heslin frees in the 29th minute before Kilkenny landed two points for the Dubs to go in 2-5 to 1-6 ahead.

On the resumption, a long ball from Ciaran Reddin found Hudson unmarked and he fired home. Kilkenny then got on the end of a classy pass from Philip Ryan as the Dubs pulled away.

SCORERS -- Dublin: C Kilkenny 1-6 (1f), P Hudson 1-4 (1f), M Schutte, J McCaffrey 1-0 each, G Sweeney, C Reddin, E O Conghaile, G Seaver, P Maguire 0-1 each. Westmeath: K Reilly 1-1 (1f), J Heslin 0-3 (3f), C McCormack 0-2, D Gavin, A Stone, S Daly 0-1 each.

DUBLIN -- R O'Flaherty; J Smith, K O'Brien, M Concarr; J Kelly, L Fletcher, J McCaffrey; E O Conghaile, C Walsh; M Schutte, G Sweeney, C Reddin; P Ryan, C Kilkenny, P Hudson. Subs: P O'Higgins for O Conghaile (inj, 16), S George for Concarr (23), G Seaver for C Walsh (inj, h-t), Concarr for Smith (h-t), P Maguire for P Ryan (inj, 45).

WESTMEATH -- E Carberry; K Sheridan, D Gavin, S Gilmore; K Maguire, B Moran, D Malynn; J Heslin, T English; G Egan, K Reilly, J Gonoud; S Daly, A Stone, C McCormack. Subs: C Boyle for Gonoud (42), E Boland for Reilly (54), E Gorman for Stone (54), P Fennell for Malynn (54).

Ref -- J Hickey (Carlow).

Irish Independent

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