Down punish wasteful Westmeath
Midlanders left to rue a host of missed goal chances in Mullingar
Down’s Corey Quinn in action against Boidu Sayeh and James Dolan of Westmeath at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
A wasteful Westmeath suffered their third consecutive league defeat in Mullingar yesterday afternoon, the home side spurning six great goal chances in an error-ridden display, thereby allowing Down to garner third place in the Division 2 North table.
Aided by a slight breeze, Down were very dominant in the first half against a lethargic home outfit. They should have been more than six points ahead (0-9 to 0-3) at the break, with Corey Quinn outstanding at full forward.
However, in rare attacking forays, Westmeath’s James Dolan and Sam McCartan were both denied goals by staunch defending from the Mourne County men. All three of Westmeath’s points came from John Heslin frees.
Down’s lead had increased to eight points (0-11 to 0-3), and Westmeath were down temporarily to 14 men with Ronan O’Toole’s black card, when sub Fola Ayorinde brought his side right back into contention with a great goal in the 51st minute.
Three minutes later, Barry O’Hagan was black carded and Westmeath awarded a penalty, but Heslin’s spot kick was superbly kept out by Rory Burns. Further gilt-edged goal opportunities fell to Ronan Wallace, Ray Connellan and Kieran Martin, but none were availed of.
The returned O’Hagan kicked a great point in added-time and this proved to be the insurance score, with Westmeath substitute Denis Corroon blazing a good point chance wide in the dying moments.
DOWN: R Burns; P Fegan, B McArdle, G Collins; P Laverty (0-1), D O’Hagan, D Guinness; J Flynn, R McEvoy; L Kerr (0-1), C Doherty, C Mooney (0-1); P Devlin (0-2, two frees), C Quinn (0-7, four frees), C McCrickard. Subs: T McInerney for McArdle (34), B O’Hagan (0-1) for Devlin (45), L Midleton for McEvoy (55), J Guinness for Quinn (61), K McKernan for D O’Hagan (70), S McConville for McCrickard (70).
WESTMEATH: J Daly; J Smith, K Maguire, B Sayeh; J Dolan, R Wallace, J Gonoud; S Duncan, R Connellan; D Lynch, S McCartan, G Egan (0-1, ‘45’); R O’Toole (0-1), J Heslin (0-6, five frees), L Loughlin. Subs: D Corroon for Lynch (33), K Martin for McCartan (h-t), B Kelly (0-1) for Loughlin (47), F Ayorinde (1-0) for Duncan (47), C Coughlan for Smith (60), T McDaniel for Martin (63).
Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary).