A close one for Westmeath
Westmeath 2-9 Cavan 1-10
The first junior playoff game of the year was a close quarterfinal contest that swayed both ways. Westmeath used dominating seven minute periods at the ends of both halves to secure the win.
In the first half it was a 2-2 burst without reply, while in the second they fired the last five points of the game to annex the win. They now play Monaghan in the semifinal while Kildare and Celtics contest the second semi.
Cavan started the game with two points in the first eight minutes from Paul Giles and Joe Shannahy. There were mistakes at both ends, however, with Westmeath having four wides in that period while Kieran Sheridan had timely interceptions in the full back line for Westmeath.
Cavan added to their total with three further scores, with Shannahy again on the board with two while Shane Reilly had the third with a towering score.
It took Westmeath all of 20 minutes before they had their first score, but they had a deluge in the final eight minutes. They had further wides and a goal chance that hit the side netting from Mark Downes, but they finally started to click with Vinnie Gavin a big factor.
Dave Dunican had a free before Gavin added a second also from a free when Dunican was fouled. Dean Barrett added a third from play, and with five minutes on the clock it was 0-5 to 0-3 for Cavan.
When Pierce Loftus started a move for Westmeath out of the half back line with four minutes left it looked harmless enough. The ball was quickly moved forward to Dunican who fired deep to the left of the square to Barrett. He turned and flicked across the square to mark Downes.
The corner forward still had work to do, but he pulled the ball from the air and planted it in the back of the net expertly.
Within a minute the same type of ball was sent into Barrett again. This time he turned and buried the ball in the onion bag himself. A six point turnaround.
Cavan again had the opening two points of the half as Barry Annette and Ian McKiernan went back to back. Both sides had wasted opportunities before Darren Petit had the next Westmeath score when he linked up with Barrett for a running score.
Cavan reacted however, unlike in the first half, with a scoring spree of their own. Sean Sheanan had a lovely point when he got the bounce and turned to slot over before Shannahy added a point with a drive up the middle from 40 yards out.
With 18 minutes gone Cavan got a huge break. Shannahy was again involved. He grabbed the ball deep in his own half and drove long to Sheanan. The corner forward flicked quickly to a storming McKiernan, who drilled the ball to the back of the net.
When Shannahy added a point Cavan had a 1-10 to 2-4 lead with nine minutes on the clock.
Again Westmeath went to the scoreboard as they dominated it akin to the first half. Back to back scores from Colin White and Sean Fagan began the momentum run.
Fagan with a free and Gavin with a free from more than 55 yards out had the side in front with time ticking down.
A number of injuries and yellow cards slowed the momentum down, and Westmeath were able to add a closing score from Pat O’Driscoll to complete the victory.
Westmeath had very good displays from Kieran Sheridan, Anto Kelly and Dave Dunican who was surprisingly taken off. Vinnie Gavin did a lot of work around the middle while Dave Barrett when he went forward had a pivotal role. Sean Fagan also had some very good moments in the full forward line.
Cavan’s Brian Murray, Ian McKiernan -- his goal was a cracker -- and Joe Shannahy who was everywhere battled hard over the hour.
Cavan: 1 Jack Fannon, 2 Michael Smith, 3 Michael Ledwith, 4 Brian Murray, 5 Shane Buggy, 6 Barry Annette (0-1), 7 Ronan Fitzsimons, 8 Ian McKiernan (1-1), 9 Shane Reilly (0-1), 10 Sean McGivney, 11 Joe Shannahy (0-4), 12 Padraig Kyne, 13 Paul Grimes (0-1), 14 Derek Williams (0-1), 15 Sean Sheanon (0-1).
Westmeath: 1 John Gavin, 2 Dave Russell, 3 Kieran Sheridan, 4 Andy Carroll, 5 Pierce Loftus, 6 Anto Kelly, 7 Mike Donnelly, 8 Vinnie Gavin (0-2), 9 Dean Barrett (1-1), 10 Dave Dunican (0-1), 11 Darren Petit (0-1), 12 Jamie Stones, 13 Mark Downes (1-0), 14 Colin Whyte (0-1), 15 Sean Fagan (0-2). Subs: Pat O’Driscoll (0-1).
Referee: Jimmy Naughton .
Easy win for Astoria
Astoria Gaels 2-11 Brooklyn/Long Island 0-9
Astoria returns to the semifinal stage of the intermediate championship after an easy win over Brooklyn/Long Island.
Astoria was able to coast to victory as they scored more than enough to get the victory. B/LI used a blanket defense but it played into the winners’ hands as they had a number of bodies to shut down all attacks coming in the other direction.
Astoria now face Dublin in the semifinals.
Astoria won the first half with a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage heading into the break. It was a half that no one wanted, however, as both sides were guilty of poor passing and devoid of attacking ideas.