Fair Draw for Westmeath, Celtic
Westmeath 1-12 Celtics 2-9
In a game of two distinct halves, Westmeath dominated the first and Celtics the second with this junior football game ending up a draw at the end of an entertaining encounter.
Westmeath used a brilliant display by Vinnie Gavin, while their opponents were more balanced with a goal in each half getting them a result.
The game opened with a Westmeath point from Sean Fagan when he was set up by Gavin, who had a huge say in the proceedings over the hour.
Dean Barrett had a glorious goal chance five minutes in when he soloed in on goal, but his bullet crashed off the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
The Celtics had the next two scores of the game from Dan O’Connor and Kenny Cox, but Gavin started the resurgence for his side by dominating kick outs in both directions. He was feeding it off to inside forwards and was also finding the posts himself. He slotted over two of the next three scores in reply to a Ciaran Sloan Celtics score.
Westmeath then ran off the next four points, with the best of the bunch a Gavin score. He won his own kickout, soloed, laid the ball and on return drove over the lathe. Excellent.
Westmeath were dominant across the park, with Pearse Loftus and Ray Keenan very prominent in the back.
Celtics, however, were given a lifeline on 26 minutes when trailing by 0-8 to 0-3 they conjured a goal. The ball was worked into the corner where Cox picked it up. He headed across the endline and made space before firing a low shot goal wards. Keenan stopped it on the line, but Richie Morgan drove the rebound to the net.
Westmeath did react in the best way with a point before the half time whistle.
Celtics dominated the scoreboard in the first 15 minutes of the second half. They had three points to Westmeath’s one, with Gary Nugent firing over a huge kick while Cathal Loughnane had a nice score from the right wing.
Barrett had the reply for Westmeath, but he was also guilty of a miss when he could possibly have had a goal from 14 yards out.
Dave Donnican off the bench for Westmeath had a score to increase the lead to 0-11 to 1-6. Then Celtics again used the net to change the scoreline.
The ball was worked by Ger McCullough and Morgan to Dan O’Connell. The big midfielder still had work to do, but he soloed for the square and crashed a brilliant shot to the back of the net.
Danny O’Sullivan made it a two-point lead with a point, but the introduction of Darren Petit off the bench was to prove an invaluable ploy for Westmeath. A five-player move in the 23rd minute ended with Petit finding the net. He followed it with a fisted point of a long pass from Barrett to give his side the lead for the last time.
Celtics were able to pull back, however, with Nugent scoring twice, the first from a free, the second a good score from play to salvage a draw.
For Westmeath, Leon Carbury could do little with the goals and played well. Kieran Sheridan, Ray Keenan, the excellent Vinnie Gavin, Dean Barrett, who if he had his shooting boots on could have won the game, Sean Fagan and sub Darren Petit all had valuable contributions.
Celtics had stars in Sean Coyle, Dan O’Connell, Gary Nugent and Danny O’Sullivan off the bench.
Westmeath: 1 Leon Carbury, 2 Mike Dowdell, 3 Kieran Sheridan, 4 Kevin Dunne, 5 Peter Loftus, 6 Ray Keenan, 7 Alan Dunne, 8 Vinnie Gavin (0-4), 9 Killian Moran (0-1), 10 James Stones, 11 Dean Barrett (0-2), 12 Mike Hayes, 13 Andy Carroll, 14 Mark Downes, 15 Sean Fagan (0-3). Subs: Darren Petit (1-1), Dan Donigan (0-1).
Celtics: 1 Kevin McArdle, 2 Sean Coyle, 3 Rory Creegan, 4 Mike Burke, 5 Joe Bishop, 6 Ger McCullough, 7 Dean McDermott, 8 Derek McKenna, 9 Dan O’Connell (1-1), 10 Richie Morgan (1-1), 11 Ciaran Sloan (0-1), 12 Gary Nugent (0-3). 13 John McArdle, 14 Cathal Loughnane (0-1), 15 Kenny Cox (0-1). Subs: Danny O’Sullivan (0-1).
Man of the match: Vinnie Gavin (Westmeath).
Referee: Dave Ryan.
McNaughton Leads Offaly Home
Offaly 2-20 Tipperary 1-11
Offaly used a brilliant opening 15 minutes when they outscored Tipperary 0-7 to 0-1 as the building block which helped them catapult to this senior hurling victory.
Midway through the second half they went to work again by outscoring their opponents 2-7 to 0-5 in the last 15. Shane McNaughton was clinical from frees while Shane Sweeney took his two goals very well.
McNaughton opened the game with two points before Shane Dooley replied with a point from play. It was all Offaly for the next 10 minutes, however, as Brendan McGourty and Dermot Lyng won the Tipp puck outs and drove the ball back into their forwards. The forwards were taking their points with five in a row.
Ray Murray also had to make a good stop on Derek Molloy to keep the sheet clean at least for the moment. A defensive mistake did allow Dooley a goal chance and he didn’t have to be asked twice.