McNicholas lifts Westmeath
Derek McNicholas guided Westmeath's hurlers to this seven-point victory over Wicklow in Arklow.
Wing-forward McNicholas was the leader of the pack with his impressive tally of seven points, five of them from frees.
Wicklow had the wind advantage in the first half but trailed by 0-8 to 0-3 after 25 minutes. However, they finished the half strongly with points by Brian Osbourne and Jonathan O'Neill, wrapped around a great goal by Mikey Lee.
There was just a point between the sides at half-time, 1-5 to 0-9, and Jonathan O'Neill levelled things after the break.
But Westmeath always had the greater hurling reserves and pulled ahead.
Four minutes from the end, Seanie Kinsella found the Westmeath net, cutting the margin to five points (2-8 to 0-19), but the Lake County men had the last say as McNicholas and Alan McGrath added two more points for a clear-cut win.
Man of the match: D McNicholas (Westmeath).
SCORERS – Westmeath: D McNicholas 0-7 (5fs), B Murtagh 0-4, A McGrath, A Price 0-3 each, J Boyle 0-2, R Greville, E Price 0-1 each. Wicklow: J O'Neill 0-5 (5fs), M Lee, S Kinsella 1-0 each, B Osbourne 0-2, A O'Brien 0-1.
WESTMEATH – P Collins 6; M Keegan 7, A Price 7, P Fennell 7; D Fennell 6, C Jordan 7, P Gilsenan 6; E Price 7, S Power 7; R Greville 6, A McGrath 7, D McNicholas 8 ; A Price 7, B Murtagh 7, B O'Mara 6. Subs: J Boyle for O'Mara, G Greville for Keegan (58).
WICKLOW – J Murphy 7; P Keane 7, B Cuddihy 7, E Dunne 6; R Byrne 5, S Kelly 6, G Byrne 6; E Kearns 7, B Osbourne 7; W O'Gorman 6, R Keddy 6, S Byrne 6; A O'Brien 6, J O'Neill 7, M Lee 6. Subs: S Kinsella for S Byrne (24), L Kennedy for Dunne (h-t), Geoffrey Bermingham for R Byrne (h-t), C Moorehouse for Osbourne, G Weir for Lee
REF – P O'Dwyer (Carlow).