Armagh too strong for Westmeath in Mullingar
Kieran McGeeney’s side dominate the second half to comfortably take Division Three clash
Rory Grugan helped Armagh past Westmeath in Mullingar. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Armagh 2-17 Westmeath 1-11
Armagh proved too strong for Westmeath in Mullingar on Sunday, Kieran McGeeney’s charges finishing strongly to emerge victorious by a nine-point margin in their National Football League Division Three clash.
Westmeath started very brightly with a point apiece from Ronan O’Toole and Luke Loughlin in the opening three minutes. Armagh were very wasteful in the opening quarter and had six wides clocked up before Rory Grugan opened their account from a 19th-minute free. The visitors went in front four minutes later courtesy of a scrappy goal from Ronan Lappin, and they led by 1-5 to 0-5 at half-time.
Armagh were still two points to the good - 1-8 to 0-9 - when Loughlin superbly teed up James Dolan in the 52nd-minute for the home team. However, the Ulster side responded in very impressive fashion with a converted penalty by Grugan and four quickfire points from play by Ryan McShane, Aidan Forker (two) and Ethan Rafferty, opening up a six-point lead.
Rafferty excelled in the closing stages by scoring the last four points of the contest, including a free, to wrap up a vital win.
Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, A McKay, P Hughes; N Rowland, G McCabe, M Shields; S Sheridan (0-1), C Vernon; R McShane (0-1), A Forker (0-3), R Lappin (1-0); R Grugan (1-4, one pen, two frees), N Grimley (0-2, two frees), E Rafferty (0-6, one free). Subs: J McElroy for Rowland (49 mins), B Crealey for Lappin (60 mins), B Donaghy for Burns (60 mins), A Duffy for Shields (65 mins), A Findon for Grimley (70 mins), R Kennedy for Forker (70 + 3 mins).
Westmeath: E Carberry; M McCallon, K Daly (0-1), B Sayeh; N Mulligan, F Boyle (0-1), J Dolan (1-0); A Stone, J Heslin (0-3, three frees); K Martin, R O’Toole (0-1), G Egan; C McCormack (0-1), L Loughlin (0-2), J Egan. Subs: D Whelan (0-1) for J Egan (10 mins), F Coyne (0-1) for Stone (46 mins), C Slevin for Mulligan (57 mins), J Marshment for Whelan (67 mins).
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan).