Leech inspires Westmeath
Westmeath 0-10 Wicklow 0-7
physically stronger Westmeath were made to work for their three-point victory by battling Wicklow in Aughrim.
Wicklow had their chances to snatch a win, but 16-year-old corner-forward Michael O'Connor saw his attempt to volley a goal in the first quarter skim the outside of Brendan Doyle's right-hand post and two frees came to nought near the end when Wicklow were just a point behind, 0-8 to 0-7.
However, Wicklow lacked the big hitters that Westmeath possessed. Ger Leech and Lorcan Dolan did the damage as they accounted for eight points of Westmeath's total between them, and Aaron Curley and Justin Barrett gave the winners a decided pull at midfield with their fielding.
Westmeath had the wind in the first half but it took 15 minutes to get their nose in front (0-2 to 0-1) and they led by 0-6 to 0-2 at half-time.
Twice Wicklow sliced that Westmeath lead down to a single score, but then failed to deliver the vital blows when the game was in the balance.
Scorers -- Westmeath: G Leech (2f), L Dolan 0-4 each, R Connellan, PJ Maguire 0-1 each. Wicklow: M O'Connor 0-4 (4f), C French 0-2, D Lohan 0-1 (f).
Westmeath -- B Doyle; B Donoghue, E Quigley, R Gorman; A McCormack, L Corless, K Daly; J Barrett, A Curley; T Watts, G Leech, TJ Fox; D McDermott, L Dolan, J Corbally. Subs: R Connellan for Fox, S Dempsey for Corbally, Caffrey for Watts, S Moran for McCormack, PJ Maguire for Curley.
Wicklow -- R Fitzgerald; J Miley, R Marron, C O Duallachain; C Hatton, D Lohan, PJ Daly; P Phelan, T O'Donoghue; D Dawson, P Ellis, A Nugent; C Healy, C French, M O'Connor. Subs: A Fleming for Hatton, D Tompkins for Healy, A Howard for Nugent.
Ref -- F Barry (Kildare)