Offaly overcame neighbours Westmeath by four points in the first round of the Walsh cup in Cusack Park Mullingar on Sunday last. See photo’s of the game here:
Both sides were quick off the mark to get their sides on the scoreboard as Brendan Murtagh and Emmet Nolan exchanged frees and points in the opening minutes. Westmeath goalie Andrew Doyle was forced off very early in the game after a head injury and substitute Shane McGovern took his place between the posts.
Offaly were very unfortunate moments later to hit the net when corner forward Shane Dooley handpassed out to full forward Paddy Murphy who’s shot was deflected and Tommy Gallagher got a flick in to push the ball away from danger and out for a ’65. Offaly were quick to make up for that mistake. Emmet Nolan’s ’65 dropped around the danger zone which Stephen Quirke batted to the back of the net. Quirke was on form again after Stephen Wynne picked him out to add a further three points to Offaly’s already growing lead. Extremely accurate Centre forward Brendan Murtagh did his best utmost to keep the lake county in touch by hitting six of the seven first half points with fellow teammate Niall Dowdall adding one more point for Westmeath, while Shane Dooley, Shane Kinsella, Paddy Murphy, Emmet Nolan and Sean Ryan adding points for the faithful to make it 2-10 to 0-7 at half time.
The second half seen better play from both sides, Westmeath improved their shooting with Niall Dowdall, Brendan Murtagh and two tight angled shots from Emmet Corrigan adding points to try close the gap, but Brian Whelhan’s men pushed on as Tom Carroll and Emmet Nolan kept the Westmeath attacks at bay. The game could have ended differently due to a disallowed goal as the umpires called for a square ball. It finished up 2-15 to 1-13, with Westmeath home to Galway on the 18th at 2pm in Cusack Park Mullingar, while Offaly have a break to wait for Galway until the 25th in O’Connor Park Tullamore.