Westmeath Cavan 2-21 Westmeath 2-5
Cavan are the John Joe McGovern champions after a comfortable win over Westmeath on Sunday. They completely dominated the contest from the 10th minute forward and strolled to the win in the end.
The scoring proficiency of Barry Dalton, Eoin Ward and Michael Sloan was a huge factor, but the defensive dominance was also pivotal for the Ciaran Shields-managed side.
The ability of Cavan to respond to a Westmeath score and put extended runs together were some of the reasons that the Breffni side are champs. After Jeff Farrell hit the opener for Westmeath, the only time they led in the contest, Cavan responded with four points in a row from Sloan, Dalton, Sloan again and Tommy Warburton when he joined the attack to already put the side into a comfortable lead with just eight minutes.
Based on the dominance of the half backline of Brendan O’Reilly, Warburton and Rory Breadon, it was always going to be difficult for the midlanders. They had a brace from Farrell and Darren Moore, but then Cavan strung eight scores in a row together to get a strangle hold on the contest.
Eoin Ward was in the middle of all the action and he was winning the battle between the New York panelists Scally and Ward hands down. Holahan and Ward started the onslaught and then Sloan fired over while falling -- a look at things to come!
After another Ward score, Dalton had a towering point from distance to move the side further ahead.
With 10 minutes left in the half Ryan Hennessy won possession on the 21-yard line. As he was about to kick he was fouled which pushed him to ground. Akin to Sloan, he got his shot off and it spectacularly looped over the head of Ray Coyle and into the net.
McGivney and Sloan from an impossible angle increased the lead, but with five minutes left in the half as if things were not bad enough for Justin O’Halloran’s side, they got worse.
Hennessy took a pass from Ward on the right and side and turned to move forward. He was fouled by Blaine Lehart who subsequently received a straight red for his actions from ref Paddy Donoghue. The sides swapped points to close the half but the die was set.
Westmeath had a perfect start to the second half when Jeff Farrell got to the end of a James Stones center to flick to the net, but again Cavan responded perfectly.
A Ward preceded a second Hennessy goal and the cup was going to Ulster. Six further points followed before Darren McDermott scored a consolation goal, but the Daltons responded as first Ciaran hit the mark before Barry chipped in with two to squash a Nester Allen score.
With Rory O’Connor, Ward and Sloan running rampant, the bench was with all getting in on the act of trophy winning.
Cavan had brilliant outings across the field. Dan King, Brendan O’Reilly and the tremendous Rory Breadon anchored the defense. Eoin Ward was outstanding, man of the match for his point guard roll.
All the forwards scored, with Sloan, Barry Dalton and Ryan Hennessy terrific. Darren McDermott, Steve Keating and Darren Moore, who had to drop in to his own half, were the few who shone for Westmeath.
Cavan: 1 Mark Galligan, 2 Dan Shannahy, 3 Francie O’Rourke (0-1), 4 Dan King, 5 Brendan O‘Reilly, 6 Tommy Warburton (0-1), 7 Rory Breadon, 8 Rory O’Connor (0-1), 9 Eoin Ward (0-5), 10 Ciaran Dalton (0-1), 11 Michael Sloan (0-5), 12 Sean McGivney (0-1), 13 Michael Holahan (0-1), 14 Barry Dalton (0-5), 15 Ryan Hennessy (2-0). Subs: PJ Smith, Chris O’Dowd, Tom Clarke.
Westmeath: 1 Ray Coyle, 2 Darren McDermott (1-0), 3 Liam Butler, 4 Niall McMahon, 5 Cathal Brady, 6 Blaine Lehart, 7 Steve Keating, 8 Keith Scally, 9 Robbie Jackson, 10 Gary Moore, 11 Vinnie Gavin, 12 Jeff Farrell (1-3), 13 Sean Collins, 14 James Stones, 15 Darren Moore (0-1). Subs: Nester Allen (0-1).
Man of the Match: Eoin Ward (Cavan).
Referee: Paddy Donoghue.