O'Byrne Cup: 'Wallace's goal seals Westmeath victory'
Westmeath 1-13 Louth 0-11
A goal by Ronan Wallace in the 28th minute helped Westmeath advance to the semi-final of the O'Byrne Cup with a five-point win over Louth in Drogheda yesterday.
Wallace finished off an excellent counter-attacking move with John Heslin setting up the defender for the crucial goal after a mix-up in the Louth forward line.
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On the back of that score, Jack Cooney's side ended the opening half much the brighter, adding three scores to enter the interval 1-7 to 0-6 ahead, with Heslin enjoying a brace of scores in this period.
Louth were much the better side up until that point, with Gerry Garland and Emmet Carolan firing over well- taken points after patient moves against Westmeath's packed defensive system.
Louth welcomed Ciarán Byrne back to action following his spell playing Australian Rules and then a long period of injury, coming on in the second half, but it was his brother Declan who impressed the most as his side's top scorer on this wintry afternoon.
The veteran forward made the most of the new playing rules with three advanced marks in total.
However, Louth did narrow the gap through Eoghan Duffy, after he replaced a sin-binned Dennis Coroon.
Westmeath kept the defining margin through Heslin frees and a two-point cameo from substitute Callum McCormack. They will play neighbours Offaly next Saturday in the semi-final.
Scorers - Westmeath: J Heslin 0-4 (3f, 1m), R Wallace 1-0, N Mulligan, Callum McCormack 0-2 each, D Giles, K Martin, D Lynch, A McGivney, N O'Reilly 0-1 each. Louth: D Byrne 0-5 (3m, 2f), E Duffy, C Downey, G Garland, J Califf, E Carolan, T Durnin 0-1 each.
Westmeath: E Carberry; K Maguire, B Sayeh, C Slevin; A McGivney, R Wallace, K Daly; D Coroon, N Mulligan; D Lynch, Conor McCormack, N O'Reilly; K Martin, D Giles, J Heslin. Subs: Callum McCormack for McCormack (46), A Stone for Lynch (60), A Neary for O'Reilly (65), L Dolan for Giles (72).
Louth: C Lynch; D Corcoran, D Campbell, N Sharkey; E Callaghan, E Carolan, J Clutterbuck; T Durnin, P Mathews; G Garland, C Downey, M Corcoran; C McKeever, D Byrne, J Gallagher. Subs: L Jackson for Clutterbuck (h-t), B Duffy for Durnin (h-t), O Murray for M Corcoran (h-t), E Duffy for Gallagher (h-t), C Byrne for Garland (51), J Murphy for Sharkey (55), J Califf for Mathews (60), S Murray for McKeever (61), C Bellew for Campbell (64).
Referee: S Farrelly (Dublin).
Sunday Indo Sport