Tuesday 20 August 2019

James Dolan and Joe Halligan goals decisive as Westmeath march into round three of qualifiers

Westmeath 2-13 Limerick 1-10

Ger Egan of Westmeath in action against Gordon Brown, left, and Iain Corbett of Limerick
Ger Egan of Westmeath in action against Gordon Brown, left, and Iain Corbett of Limerick

Declan Rooney

James Dolan and Joe Halligan fired goals a minute either side of half-time as Westmeath picked up their second qualifier win of the summer at Cusack Park.

Limerick led this game for two minutes early on, but once Ger Egan found his range the home side started to pull clear. Jamie Lee maintained Limerick's challenge from placed balls, but once Halligan hit the second goal a Limerick revival was unlikely.

Darragh Treacy's ricocheted goal 16 minutes from time gave hope to Limerick and they closed to within four points with eight minutes remaining, but John Heslin came off the bench to stop the rot.

With a strong wind behind them in the first-half Limerick matched Westmeath in most facets of the game, but their conversion rates were slack in comparison to their hosts. Limerick had tallied four wides before Westmeath kicked their first after 20 minutes, and it was that wastage was one of the reasons they trailed by seven points at the interval.

Tommy McDaniel was one of two late call-ups to the team and he didn't take long to settle with the game's opening score in the second minute.

Throughout the game Westmeath defenders were given licence to run from deep and Boidu Sayeh and Kevin Maguire both caused trouble with powerful bursts and positive deliveries, but the next two scores of the game came from Limerick half-backs. Gordon Brown and Iain Corbett kicked the points after some patient play from the Munster side.

Despite having started at midfield Egan spent a lot of time in the forward line and after Kieran Martin pointed, Egan kicked two in a row to give Westmeath a double scores lead.

Goalkeeper Donal O'Sullivan was wide of the mark with two 45s for Limerick before Jamie Lee kicked their first free – they missed four 45s in total – and he added a second and a fine point from play before the end of the half as Limerick tried to stay in touch.

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But the scores always seemed to come easier to Westmeath. Ronan O'Toole kicked a couple of good scores either side of Lee's point and a minute into added-time Callum McCormack curled over a sweet score after the home side had forced a turnover near the Limerick goals.

But just before the break the key score of the game arrived when Dolan broke away 40 metres from goal, surged clear and tucked a low shot past O'Sullivan which gave his side a 1-9 to 0-5 half-time lead.

But seconds after the restart this game was decided. A brilliant long pass from Egan picked out McDaniel, and after he crept in behind the cover Joe Halligan blasted to the net.

The next three points all went to Limerick though as Lee's free-taking kept the deficit from mounting, and a driving run and shot from Treacy after 56 minutes was saved but deflected into the net off the Limerick man.

O'Sullivan slotted a free to cut the Westmeath lead to four points, but Heslin popped up with a great point to settle Westmeath and they eased to the win.

Scorers – Westmeath: G Egan 0-6 (3f), J Dolan 1-0, J Halligan 1-0, R O'Toole 0-2, C McCormack 0-2, K Martin 0-1, T McDaniel 0-1, J Heslin 0-1

Limerick: J Lee 0-6 (5f), D Treacy 1-0, G Brown 0-1, I Corbett 0-1, S O'Carroll 0-1, D O'Sullivan 0-1 (1f)

Westmeath: E Carbery; B Sayeh, K Maguire, J Smith; K Daly, R Wallace, J Dolan; D Corroon, G Egan; D Lynch, R O'Toole, K Martin; C McCormack, J Halligan, T McDaniel.

Subs: J Heslin for McDaniel (39), S Duncan for Daly (49), T Griffin for O'Toole (59), N Mulligan for McCormack (65), F Boyle for Halligan (72).

Limerick: D O'Sullivan (c); S O'Dea, C McSweeny, B Fanning; T McCarthy, I Corbett, G Brown, ; D Treacy, T Childs; P De Brún, C Fahy, M Fitzgibbon, S O'Carroll, J Lee, J Naughton.

Subs: A Enright for De Brún (43), S McSweeney for C McSweeney (49), P Nash for Naughton (59), P Scanlon for Lee (67), G Noonan for Brown (67), T Griffin for O'Carroll (71).

Referee: James Molloy (Galway).

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