Tyrone find form in second half to overrun Westmeath
Visitors suffer fifth straight defeat and look certainties for relegation
Tyrone’s Mark Donnelly hold off Westmeath’s Kieran Gavin. Photograph: William Cherry/Inpho/Presseye
Tyrone 2-23 Westmeath 1-12
Tyrone returned to form with a sparkling second-half display, their firepower condemning struggling Westmeath to a fifth straight defeat and to almost certain relegation.
The backlash was what Paul Bealin and his travelling side fully expected after the Red Hands’ implosion in Killarney a week earlier, and the fact that it didn’t materialise until the second half was of little comfort to the Leinster side’s manager.
Once the home side started to move with purpose immediately after the restart there was no doubt about the outcome, which was sealed by late goals from Ronan O’Neill and Sean Cavanagh.
Two Ciarán McGinley points in the space of a minute had the Red Hands ahead by 0-4 to 0-2 with 12 minutes played. But Paul Bealin’s men displayed passion and hunger, and drew level midway through the half with scores from Glennon and Kieran Martin, who finished with the fist following incisive build-up play from Kieran Gavin and Dessie Dolan.
Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan slotted over a 45, Connor McAliskey split the posts, and McGinley claimed his third for a 0-9 to 0-6 advantage.
But Westmeath swung the game back in their favour in the closing stages of the half, danger man Glennon adding another to his tally, and they were level when Callum McCormack landed a long-range effort.
Tyrone did edge in front in stoppage time with a McAliskey free, leading 0-10 to 0-9 at the break. And they made an explosive start to the second half, with four points in as many minutes through Mark Donnelly, Morgan, Shay McGuigan and McAliskey to go five clear.
Low and wide
They could have had a goal when Donnelly broke clear but dragged his shot low and wide.
Committing extra men to the defensive effort, Tyrone squeezed the Westmeath attack out for long spells, and attacked with purpose, adding further points through Kyle Coney, who thumped over a long -range effort, McGinley and substitute Danny McBride to go seven clear.
Almost from nowhere the visitors stunned their opponents with a 49th-minute goal, Dessie Dolan slipping the ball to substitute Ray Connellan, who smashed an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net.
But Tyrone responded with another volley of scores, and put the result beyond doubt in the 55th minute when McAliskey sent substitute Ronan O’Neill clear and he picked his spot in the bottom corner for a delightful goal. Seán Cavanagh sealed a handsome 14-point success with Tyrone’s second goal four minutes from the end.
TYRONE: N Morgan (0-3, 2f, 1 ‘45), A McCrory, R McNamee, R McKenna, C Clarke, Mattie Donnelly, P Harte, C Cavanagh (0-1), S Cavanagh (1-2), S McGuigan (0-1), C McGinley (0-4), C Grugan (0-1), K Coney (0-3, 1f), Mark Donnelly (0-2), C McAliskey (0-5, 2f). Subs: D McBride (0-1) for McNamee (5), R O’Neill (1-0) for Grugan (half-time), P J Lavery for McGinley (60 mins), P Hughes for McGuigan (60 mins), K Gallagher for Mark Donnelly (60 mins), D Carlin for Mattie Donnelly (65 mins).
WESTMEATH: D Quinn, S Gilmore, K Gavin, K Maguire, J Gonoud, P Sharry, J Gilligan, D McCormack, D Duffy, K Martin (0-1), G Egan (0-2, 2f), C McCormack (0-1), D Dolan (0-2), D Glennon (0-5), J Dolan. Subs: R Connellan (1-1) for D McCormack (half-time), Damien Dolan for Gilligan (46 mins), J Egan for C McCormack (52 mins), R Foley for SHarry (58 mins), A Giles for Martin (59 mins).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).