Lake superior as Halligan's goal knocks out Limerick
Westmeath 2-13 Limerick 1-10
James Dolan and Joe Halligan fired goals either side of the interval as Westmeath eased to a comfortable success over visiting Limerick.
The Treaty men led briefly in the early stages but after Ger Egan found his range, the hosts pulled clear. Jamie Lee maintained Limerick's challenge from placed balls, but when Halligan hit the second goal, a Limerick revival was unlikely.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
Darragh Treacy's goal 16 minutes from time gave hope to Limerick and they closed to within four points in the final quarter, but John Heslin came off the bench to steady the hosts' ship.
Playing with wind advantage in the first half Limerick managed to stay in touch with their Leinster opponents, but their conversion rates were slack in comparison to their hosts.
Limerick had tallied four wides before the Lake County side kicked their first after 20 minutes, and such profligacy 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, however 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, the former 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. He added a second and a fine point from play before the end of the half as Limerick tried to stay in touch.
But scoring seemed to come easier to Westmeath. Ronan O'Toole kicked a couple of impressive scores either side of Lee's point and a minute into added-time, Callum McCormack curled over 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.
Within seconds of the restart, the outcome was determined. A brilliant long pass from Egan picked out McDaniel who crept in behind the cover before Halligan blasted to the net.
The next three points all went to Limerick, however, as Lee's free-taking prevented 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, J Halligan 1-0 each; R O'Toole, C McCormack 0-2 each; K Martin, T McDaniel, J Heslin 0-1 each. Limerick: J Lee 0-6 (5f); D Treacy 1-0; G Brown, I Corbett, S O'Carroll, D O'Sullivan (1f) 0-1 each.
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, 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: J Molloy (Galway).
Sunday Indo Sport