Monday 18 December 2017

Westmeath too good for Royals

Westmeath overcame neighbours Meath 2-14 to 1-11 in Mullingar in the Leinster U-21FC quarter-final.

Meath went four points ahead in the opening eight minutes before being hit by Westmeath goals from Paul Sharry and James Durkin, but a free from sharpshooter Brian Sheridan had the teams level at the interval.

Although Colm O'Rourke's side had a goal and a point after the restart Westmeath hit 10 points without reply proving too much for the Royal County.

In Aughrim, Laois proved too much for Wicklow with a 0-13 to 0-10 victory. Corner-forward Paul Cahillane provided the clinical finish in attack as he pointed his team to this narrow win.

The sides were level on four occasions during the first half before Cahillane pointed Laois into a 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead with a another point two minutes before the break.

Wicklow never flinched at any stage and they had cut the margin to a single point with 10 minutes to go. But it was Cahillane who responded for Laois with a fine brace of late points to copper-fasten the win.

A stunning goal from star midfielder Brendan Murphy three minutes from the end of extra-time gave Carlow a 2-14 to 1-15 win over Offaly in Tullamore.

Murphy's goal rescued Carlow from a game that looked to be slipping from their grasp as they trailed by three points early in the second period of extra-time.

An Eddie Byrne goal had given Carlow a dream start and they led by 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time. Michael Brazil's goal helped Offaly back into it in the second half and it took extra-time to separate the sides after they had finished at 1-11 each at the end of normal time.

Three points in the second period of extra-time from substitute David Quinn helped Dublin see off Louth (1-14 to 1-8).

Despite leading by 1-2 to 0-4 at the break courtesy of a Dean Rock goal, Jim Gavin's side never made their dominance count as they kicked a massive 21 wides. That meant that when the visitors were reduced to 14 men on 37 minutes after Dara Nelson was shown a straight red card, Louth took advantage with a goal and a point from Jim McEneaney to take a three-point lead with 13 minutes remaining.

But then it was the home side's turn to be wasteful this time though as Dublin fought their way into the game with last gasp points from Rock and captain John Cooper taking the game to extra-time. Dublin had the better of extra-time, as they finally find their scoring touch.

In the NHL, Mayo punished Armagh for their poor accuracy in front of the posts by earning a 0-19 to 0-17 victory at Crossmaglen in Division 3A.

The Westerner's Brian Moran scored an impressive 10 points from frees, but it was Armagh's 15 first-half wides and a missed penalty that was the main talking point.

They played with 14 men for much of it, but Wicklow produced a hungry second-half performance to open their Division 3B campaign with a valuable 0-25 to 1-7 victory over Fingal at Swords.

Full-forward Don Hyland picked up a second yellow after the break, but led by the accurate Jonathan O'Neill, who finished with 0-9 (7 frees), the men from the Garden County gave the north Dubliners too much to do at the end.

Longford made it two wins out of two in Division 4 of the NHL with a 2-14 to 1-14 victory over South Down.

Sunday Independent

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