Tuesday 23 October 2018

Kelly quits after Armagh ease past Westmeath

Armagh 3-16 Westmeath 1-11

John Connellan of Westmeath is tackled by Aaron McKay of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
John Connellan of Westmeath is tackled by Aaron McKay of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Colin Kelly resigned as Westmeath manager after just one season in charge following this 11-point defeat in Mullingar.

The Louth man cited the time spent travelling, saying: "It's a massive commitment for me with a young family. That's not an excuse. I've enjoyed my time here.

Ger Egan of Westmeath in action against Connaire Mackin of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ger Egan of Westmeath in action against Connaire Mackin of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

"I've a great relationship with the Westmeath County Board and I've made some great friends among the players. We've had some fun along the way, but maybe it's time for a Westmeath man to take it on."

Armagh started brightly with Ethan Rafferty pointing after just 11 seconds and Andrew Murnin adding another a minute later, but Westmeath pounced for an opportunist goal from Ronan O'Toole.

However, Kieran McGeeney's troops, with Charlie Vernon to the fore and Rory Grugan reliable from placed balls, were generally in control and led by 0-11 to 1-4 at the interval.

They went further ahead when Westmeath goalkeeper Kevin Fagan spilled a shot from Murnin over his own goal line.

Luke Loughlin of Westmeath in action against Patrick Burns of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Luke Loughlin of Westmeath in action against Patrick Burns of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Westmeath had a spell of dominance but were wasteful from a number of good chances. However, three points without reply, the best of them from midfielder Denis Corroon, had the deficit down to 1-12 to 1-8 by the 58th minute, but that was as close as Westmeath got.

Armagh copper-fastened their place in the second round draw by scoring 2-2 without reply, with subs Anthony Duffy and Gavin McParland getting the goals.

The Lake men finished the game with 14 men, with Ger Egan picking up a second yellow card in injury-time.

The Orchard County went on to more than double their five-point winning margin at the same venue 11 months ago.

Mark McCallon of Westmeath in action against Andrew Murnin of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Mark McCallon of Westmeath in action against Andrew Murnin of Armagh. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

McGeeney's main post-match focus was his unhappiness with a shoulder injury sustained by Ethan Rafferty who seems set to miss the rest of the campaign after being stretchered off the field.

"I'm pleased for the boys to get the win," the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain added, "but we're not taking a lot from today's game. We're just glad to be in the hat for the next round and see where that takes us."

Man of the match

Charlie Vernon (Armagh)

Ethan Rafferty of Armagh in action against Sam Duncan of Westmeath. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ethan Rafferty of Armagh in action against Sam Duncan of Westmeath. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Listed at full-back, Vernon played his roving commission further out the field to great effect, scoring three fine points and teeing up Gavin McParland for his goal.

Match statistics

Wides:Armagh 10 (2 first half); Westmeath 7 (3)

Frees: Armagh 16 (10); Westmeath 25 (15)

attendance: 3,000

Scorers - Armagh: R Grugan 0-5fs, A Duffy 1-1, G McParland 1-0, K Fagan 1-0 (own goal), C Vernon 0-3, E Rafferty, J Hall 0-2 each, R McShane, A Murnin, G McCabe 0-1 each. Westmeath: R O'Toole 1-2, L Loughlin 0-3fs, D Corroon 0-2 (1f), K Martin, B Sayeh, G Egan (f), F Coyne 0-1 each.

Armagh - B Hughes 7; P Burns 6, B Donaghy 7, A McKay 7; J McElroy 6, G McCabe 7, A Forker 6; C Vernon 8, A Findon 6; C Mackin 6, M Shields 6, E Rafferty 7; J Hall 7, A Murnin 7, R Grugan 7. Subs: N Rowland 6 for Findon (h-t), R McShane 6 for Rafferty (inj, 42), A Duffy 7 for Mackin (58), G McParland 6 for McElroy (65), O Mac Íomhair n/r for Hall (66).

Westmeath - K Fagan 6; M McCallon 7, S Duncan 6, J Gonoud 6; J Egan 5, N Mulligan 6, B Sayeh 5; D Corroon 7, D Daly 6; K Martin 5, R O'Toole 7, G Egan 5; L Loughlin 6, J Connellan 5, C McCormack 6. Subs: F Coyne 7 for Daly (inj, 26), D Whelan 6 for J Egan (inj, 50), C Slevin 6 for Sayeh (63), R Wallace n/r for McCallon (66), A McGivney n/r for Connellan (70), J Rock n/r for Gonoud (inj, 73).

Ref - D Gough (Meath)

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