Westmeath had their expected facile win over Waterford in a lacklustre qualifier first round tie played in ideal conditions in Mullingar Sunday afternoon, the Déise men never coming close to replicating their fine display against Clare in the Munster Championship.
he referee issued 12 yellow cards – seven of them to the winners – throughout the 77 minutes played, but the game was far from rancorous and often lacked championship intensity.
The wind-assisted home team, short the services of their injured marquee player John Heslin, led from start to finish and had six points on the board – three of them from Ger Egan (right), including two frees – by the time Tommy Prendergast opened Waterford’s account in the 24th minute.
Another brace of successful frees from Egan and a fisted point from defender Ronan Wallace stretched Westmeath’s lead to 0-9 0-1 by the break.
The visitors had strong claims for a penalty waved away in the 39th minute when Fearghal Ó Cuirrín bore down on goal, but three unanswered points during the ensuing six minutes via Conor Murray, Dessie Hutchinson and Prendergast brought them briefly back into contention.
However, the Lake County side totally dominated the remainder of the contest, outscoring their opponents by 1-13 to 0-3.
Ronan O’Toole’s well-worked goal in the 55th minute put his team 1-14 to 0-4 ahead, and the closing stages saw a range of players in maroon and white making the score-sheet in what was a very comfortable victory, with relative newcomer Joe Halligan staking strong claims for a starting role by kicking four points from play.
Westmeath, who had exited the Leinster Championship after a two-point loss to Laois, are now in today’s draw for the second round and they could prove to be tricky opponents for some of the high-profile counties who lost provincial semi-finals.
Scorers – Westmeath: G Egan 0-8 (6f), R O’Toole 1-2 (1 ’45), J Halligan 0-4, K Martin 0-2, R Wallace, J Dolan, D Corroon, T McDaniel, D Lynch, N O’Reilly 0-1 each. Waterford: C Murray, T Prendergast, D Hutchinson 0-2 each, D Fitzgerald 0-1.
Westmeath – E Carberry 6; B Sayeh 7, K Maguire 7, R Wallace 7; K Daly 6, F Boyle 6, D Lynch 6; D Corroon 6, K Martin 7; J Dolan 6, R O’Toole 8, J Halligan 8; T McDaniel 7, G Egan 7, C McCormack 6. Subs: J Smith 6 for Boyle (55), N Mulligan 6 for Corroon (58), S Pettit 6 for McDaniel (61), N O’Reilly 6 for Egan (63), C Slevin n/r for Lynch (65), S Flanagan n/r for Pettit (inj, 69).
Waterford – P Hunt 5; S O’Donovan 5, R Ó Ceallaigh 5, J McGrath 5; B Looby 6, S Ryan 7, T Ó hUallacháin 6; S Ahearne 6, T Prendergast 7; JJ Hutchinson 5, D Guiry 5, C Murray 7; D Hutchinson 7, F Ó Cuirrín 6, M Curry 5. Subs: D Corcoran 6 for Ó Ceallaigh (24), S Whelan-Barrett 5 for Guiry (46), J Mullaney 6 for O’Donovan (50), J Allen 5 for JJ Hutchinson (51), J Curry n/r for Prendergast (65), D Fitzgerald n/r for Ó Cuirrín (67).
Ref – J Henry (Mayo)