Westmeath won the battle of the Midlands with an easy victory in this junior KO contest on Sunday. They had far too many weapons and used a powerful midfield performance from Jeff Farrell and the late arriving Vinnie Gavin to carry them to victory.
Offaly started strong, but their superiority was not shown on the board. Four wides was their output and it would prove costly later.
Westmeath had their first point when Kevin Lilly was set free by Robbie Jackson for the first on 13 minutes, and it was the prelude for a scoring spree. Darren Petit won the kickout after the score and he fed the ball quickly to Lilly.
His pass found Gavin on the right. A speculative shot from the former county midfielder went all the way to the net.
Offaly did have their one score in the first half directly following. Jason Kelly took the kickout and went all the way to the other end before chipping over. It was the only hurrah.
Westmeath added six points as they built some very effective attacks. Gavin had a wonderful 50 yard score from play as the pick of the crop.
Offaly had the first point of the second half when Trevor Flynn fired over, but it was again all Westmeath as they added 3-5 against a point the rest of the way.
Jeff Farrell with two and Jackson with a fisted pinball effort had the majors, but the side was on top across the field.
Farrell and Pat Scally were dominating the middle while Danny Fagan had a very good stop on a Keith St. Ledger effort with 12 minutes gone. It didn’t help Offaly when Kelly received his second yellow after he was pulled to the ground by Ray Keenan and then retaliated by driving the ball at the defender.
It was easy pickings the rest of the way with Darren Petit firing over the last two scores of the game.
For Westmeath, Danny Fagan made one very important save. Dave Russell, Ray Keenan and Pete Scally were all very effective at the back. Scally is a very good ball carrier, and when he joined the attack he was very dangerous.
The trifecta of Farrell, Jackson and Gavin in the middle gave the side complete dominance. They scored 4-6 between them, and some of the scores were back breaking.
Darren Petit if he can stay healthy will be a very good target man. Lilly and James Stones both had points and they did well with their share.
Offaly are back playing football which is great for New York. John Fitzpatrick, Tom Rosney and Trevor Flynn were some of their brighter stars on a down day.
Offaly: 1 Brendan Moran, 2 Ger O’Brian, 4 Mike Maher, 5 Peter Kelly (0-1), 6 John Fitzpatrick, 7 Mark Delaney, 8 Jason Kelly (0-1), 9 Noel Coughlin, 10 Tom Rosney, 11 Trevor Flynn (0-1), 13 Keith St. Ledger, 13 Kieran Mannerings, 15 Dean Connolly .
Westmeath: 1 Danny Fagan, 2 Dave Russell, 4 Kevin Dunne, 5 Ray Keenan, 6 Pat Scally (0-1), 7 Steve Keating, 8 Jeff Farrell (2-1), 9 Robbie Jackson (1-2), 10 Darren Petit (0-2), 11 Mike Hayes, 12 Nester Allen, 13 Kevin Lilly (0-2), 15 James Stones (0-2). Subs: Vinnie Gavin (1-02)
Referees: Donie O’Sullivan, Tommy Fahey. O’Sullivan started the contest and was doing very well before he was alarmingly called ashore after 15 minutes.
Man of the match: Jeff Farrell (Westmeath).
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