Tailteann Cup: John Heslin helps wasteful Westmeath shrug off Carlow

Goalkeeper Aidan Devaney the hero as Sligo beat Leitrim on penalties; Cavan win derby match against Fermanagh

Carlow 2-13 Westmeath 1-21

You could argue that Westmeath have some improving to do if they’re to win the Tailteann Cup but, frankly, with John Heslin in their team anything is possible.

The Mullingar man helped himself to 1-9 to send an at times wasteful Westmeath through to the semi-final draw, ending Carlow’s season.

Westmeath didn’t have it all their own way at Netwatch Cullen Park and will need to be a lot better on Sunday week at Croke Park.

It took the Leinster semi-finalists until the final quarter hour or so to see off a game Carlow buoyed by their win seven days earlier over Tipperary at the same venue.


First-half goals from Josh Moore and Niall Hickey kept the Division Four side in the game, trailing by just 2-5 to 1-10 at half-time, and with 57 minutes on the clock Carlow were only two points behind.

Westmeath didn’t exactly hit the afterburners at that point but did up the ante enough to outscore Carlow by 0-6 to 0-3 in the run in. They finished with an extra man too as Carlow’s Liam Roberts was dismissed for a high tackle in stoppage-time.

“We played him at number 11 today,” said Westmeath manager Jack Cooney of Heslin. “He gave us a big presence and he controls a game very well out there. He’s the type of player you could play anywhere really.”

CARLOW: C Cunningham; D Curran, M Bambrick (0-1), L Roberts; S Clarke (0-1), S Bambrick, C Doyle (0-1); J Clarke (0-1, free), E Ruth; N Hickey (1-0), J Moore (1-0), R Dunphy (0-2); C Hulton (0-2), C Crowley, D Foley (0-5, five frees).

Subs: S Buggy for Hickey (61 mins), C Lomax for Doyle (70).

WESTMEATH: J Daly; C Drumm, J Smith, J Gonoud (0-1); N Harte, R Wallace, J Dolan; S McCartan (0-3), S Duncan (0-1); D Lynch, J Lynam, R O’Toole (0-2); L Dolan (0-1, mark), J Heslin (1-9, seven frees), L Loughlin (0-4, one free).

Subs: R Forde for Duncan (57 mins), A McCormack for Harte (61), A Gardiner for L Dolan (67), K Martin for McCartan (71), TJ Cox for Loughlin (72).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

Leitrim 2-16 Sligo 1-19 (aet; Sligo won 4-3 on penalties)

Sligo are heading to Croke Park for a Tailteann Cup semi-final following a dramatic 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat of their Connacht neighbours Leitrim in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Goalkeeper Aidan Devaney was Sligo’s hero as he saved two of Leitrim’s spot-kicks. The custodian, who had saved an extra-time penalty in Sligo’s win over London the previous weekend, denied efforts from Ryan O’Rourke and Emlyn Mulligan.

Even with Keith Beirne, Darragh Rooney and Shane Quinn tucking away their penalties for the hosts, Sligo got through thanks to accuracy from the spot by Nathan Rooney, Alan Reilly, Donal Conlon and Brian Egan.

Despite both sides having phases of control, nothing could keep them apart, either in normal time or extra-time of what proved a ding-dong quarter-final.

Leitrim’s brilliant attacker Beirne shot 1-8 in all and provided the equalising points at the end of normal time and extra-time to keep his side afloat.

Sligo, who overcame the concession of 1-2 in the opening seven minutes of normal time, almost destroyed their chances of making it to Croker by shooting 18 wides in all.

The visitors led 0-9 to 1-4 midway through normal time, having finally found a rhythm through points by Alan Reilly and the excellent Patrick O’Connor.

Leitrim’s second goal – substitute Jordan Reynolds on target – brought the home side level in the 44th minute.

From then on it was nip and tuck but Sligo will be annoyed that they let slip a four-point lead, 1-15 to 2-8, with five minutes of normal time left.

The big talking point for Leitrim was a disallowed goal 20 seconds into the first period of extra-time after Shane Moran’s score was chalked off.

LEITRIM: B Flynn; P Maguire, M Diffley, C Reynolds; J Heslin, D Bruen, J Rooney; P Dolan, D Wrynn; C McGloin, K Beirne (1-8, one mark), S Moran; D Flynn, E Sweeney (0-2), R O’Rourke (0-1).

Subs: J Reynolds (1-1) for McGloin (33 mins), Ryan O’Rourke (0-1) for Reynolds (43), M Plunkett (0-1) for Heslin (51), D Rooney for Sweeney (58), D McGovern (0-1) for Flynn (66), E Mulligan (0-1) for O’Rourke, C Farrell for Diffley (both 71), S Quinn for J Rooney (74), T Prior for Moran (80).

SLIGO: A Devaney; N Mullen, E Lyons, P McNamara; L Towey, D Cummins (0-1), P Kilcoyne; P Laffey (0-1), S Carrabine (0-4, one free); K Cawley, P O’Connor (0-6, two frees, one mark), M Gordon; A Reilly (0-6), P Hughes, P Spillane.

Subs: D Conlon for Hughes (56 mins), M Walsh (1-0) for Towey (58), C Marren for Spillane (63), N Rooney (0-1, free) for Carrabine (67), P Spillane for Laffey (80), B Egan for O’Connor (81).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).

Fermanagh 0-13 Cavan 2-16

Two first-half goals for 14-man Cavan were the key scores in this impressive victory for the visitors over a disappointing Fermanagh side in Brewster Park.

The goals came from man-of-the-match Thomas Galligan and Pádraig Faulkner which pushed the winners to a 2-5 to 0-7 lead at the break.

But the expected Erne revival never happened as Cavan consolidated their superiority and the loss of corner back Killian Brady to a yellow and a black card did not halt their gallop.

Marksman Seán Quigley got the bulk of Fermanagh’s scores from frees, but they will rue 13 wides and never looked like overhauling their lively neighbours.

Cavan got a sensational start when athletic midfielder Galligan won the throw-in and went on a surging run through the centre of the Erne defence, dealing with three hefty challenges before hitting a cracking goal after just 10 seconds. It was the perfect fillip and Galligan added another point a minute later.

Big Gearóid McKiernan quickly added to the tally with two smart points to leave Cavan leading by 1-3 to 0-0 after eight minutes.

Ryan Jones got Fermanagh off the mark with a well-struck point in the ninth minute.

The home side were settling into the match a bit better and the margin was reduced to two points when Quigley pointed to leave Cavan leading by 1-4 to 0-5 in the 24th minute.

But a dreadful fumble by a Fermanagh defender saw the ball go loose to Galligan on the edge of the Fermanagh square. He crossed the ball soccer style across the square and full-back Faulkner side-footed the ball to the net.

Fermanagh hit back with two points from Darragh McGurn and Quigle, but Galligan punched a point to leave Cavan leading by 2-5 to 0-7 at the break as wasteful Fermanagh hit nine wides, the decision to use their biggest threat Ultan Kelm as a man-marker on McKiernan blunting their attack.

Cavan took the initiative on the resumption and Jason McLoughlin arrowed over a fine point.

That set the tone for a pretty one-sided second half as Cavan outscored their opponents by 0-11 to 0-8.

The winners were always able to get their scores with ease while Fermanagh repeatedly failed to break down a well-organised Cavan rearguard.

An impressive win for Cavan who look like they could make a real impression in this competition.

FERMANAGH: S McNally; R O’Callaghan, J Cassidy, L Flanagan; J McMahon (0-1), U Kelm, D McCusker; R Jones (0-2) J McDade; J Largo Ellis, R Lyons, A Breen; S McGullion D McGurn (0-4), S Quigley (0-6, six frees).

Subs: C Corrigan for McGullion (12 mins) C Jones for McDade (22), J Reihill for McCusker (46), R McCaffrey for O’Callaghan (57), O Kelm for Breen (59).

CAVAN: R Galligan; C Madden, P Faulkner (1-0), K Darcy; J McLoughlin (0-1) K Clarke, C Brady (0-1); T Galligan (1-5), J Smith; O Kiernan, G McKiernan (0-6), G Smith; C Brady, P Lynch (0-2, two frees), N Carolan.

Subs: C O’Reilly (0-1) for Brady (h-t), M Reilly for Madden (52). L Fortune for Carolan (54),O Brady for J Smith (55), M Argue for Lynch (66),

Referee: P Faloon (Down).