Westmeath secured a Leinster SFC semi-final spot against Meath after a nine point victory over the ‘yellow bellies’. Wexford fans found themselves returning to Cusack park Mullingar for the second time in two weeks this time hoping their footballers could defeat Westmeath like their hurling counter-parts the previous weekend.
In an extremely quick and energetic game, Westmeath killed off Wexford in the final stages kicking 1-9 in the final ten minutes in a end to end encounter. Wexford Manager David Power put his trust in four very talented and very fit championship debutants Neamhan Rossiter, Simon Donohoe, Syl Byrne and Kieran Butler for the Leinster clash.
Colm Kehoe got the South-East side off the mark but that was quickly cancelled out by a Kieran Martin point. Two more points from Shane Dempsey pushed the Lake county ahead, one of which was a perfect goal opportunity. Corner back Joey Wadding did his best to keep his side in touch travelling up inside the Westmeath ’45 to kick a point to narrow the game back to a single point. The Westmeath full-forward line was in the driving seat from the beginning of the game kicking 0-9 in the 37 minutes of the game Dempsey and Martin the direct routes for Westmeath attacks, similarly on the opposite end Ciaran Lyng was extremly accurate from placed balls kicking 0-8, 0-6 coming from frees. Goal keeper Darren Quinn stopped a Ben Brosnan first half goal shot and recorded a clean sheet stopping everything that came in his path.
Referee Fergal Kelly (Longford) was in no way afraid to use his authority during the game awarding 3 black cards, Ray Connellan and Daragh Daly were given marching orders for Westmeath while Colm Kehoe also was was sent to the line for Wexford all for off the ball incidents.
Full-forward Lyng was the main scoring threat for Wexford, his free taking ability constantly reducing Westmeaths lead, Wexford gained a new lease of life ten minutes into the second half after two Kevin O’Grady points gave Wexford the lead for the first time in the second half. This lease of life was short-lived as a Kieran Martin goal pushed Westmeath ahead once again and Westmeath were on the final stretch for victory. In the closing minutes Westmeath could do no wrong kicking from all angles and each shot sailed over the black spot for the midlanders.
- Until Daragh Daly scored for Westmeath its was just the full-forward line that scored for Tom Cribben’s men. In their next game if Meath cut off the channel to the full-forward line Westmeath may be in trouble apart from Heslin’s free taking to get scores on the board.
- Westmeath made free-takers Lyng and Brosnan look exceptional by fouling a number of times inside their ’45, had they had not fouled as much Westmeath would have lead the whole game very comfortably.
- Wexford switched their free takers between Brosnan and Lyng as left and right foot kickers, Lyng was deadly accurate while Brosnan struggled to kick over his usual signature scores, if they had left free taking to Lyng they may have closed the lead Westmeath had throughout the game.
Westmeath: D Quinn; K Daly, K Maguire, P Holloway; P Sharry (0-01), J Gilligan (0-01), J Dolan (0-01); G Egan (0-02), D Daly (0-01); R Foley, R Connellan, D Corroon; K Martin (1-02), J Heslin (0-05, 0-04f), S Dempsey (0-04).
Subs: J Connellan (0-02) for R Connellan (33 mins BC), L Smyth for Foley (46), D Glennon (0-02) for D Daly (50), J Donohoe for Maguire (55 BC), D Lynch for Martin (69), F Boyle for Gilligan (71).
Wexford: S Roche; J Wadding (0-01), N Rossiter, M Furlong; A Flynn (0-02), S Donohoe, B Malone; S Byrne, C Kehoe (0-01); N Rossiter, B Brosnan (0-01, 0-01f), K Butler; E Nolan, C Lyng (0-08, 0-06f), K O’Grady (0-02).
Subs: R Tierney for Furlong (33 mins), P Byrne for Kehoe (42 BC), J Tubritt for Nolan (48), M O’Regan for T Rossiter (52), G Molloy for Flynn (61),