John Heslin guides Westmeath to victory in Derry

Callum McCormack also shines for Lake County as Derry rue late missed penalty

John Heslin scored 1-7 in Westmeath’s win over Derry in Celtic Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

John Heslin scored 1-7 in Westmeath’s win over Derry in Celtic Park. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

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Derry 2-14 Westmeath 2-17

Two early goals were the crucial scores as Westmeath got their league campaign off to a winning start over Derry at Celtic Park.

John Heslin starred in the Lake County’s attack with 1-7, but he found able support from the impressive Callum McCormack, who helped himself to 1-4 from play. An injury-time penalty save by Eoin Carberry from Enda Lynn confirmed the win.

The visitors threw down an early gauntlet, and in some style, with goals from McCormack and Heslin (penalty) opening up a six point lead after just six minutes.

Derry, with a strong breeze in their favour, fought back through points from Michael Bateson and James Kielt before skipper Enda Lynn palmed home a goal for Derry in the 12th minute.

But again Westmeath responded with star man Heslin at the heart of their scoring, ending the first half with 1-4. Injury-time points from Peter Hagan and a second from the bullish Bateson reduced Derry’s deficit, but they still trailed 2-7 to 1-7 at the break.

A feisty encounter continued well into the second half with both sides reduced to 14 men after the dismissals of James Dolan and Kielt. Westmeath, however, managed to keep their necks just ahead throughout but had Lynn converted that last minute penalty it would have earned his side a share of the spoils. He didn’t, and Westmeath, deservedly, prevailed.

DERRY: B McKinless; N Keenan, K Johnston, R Mooney; M Bateson (0-2), L McGoldrick, M McEvoy; C McAtamney, E Bradley (0-2, both frees); E Lynn (1-0), P Hagan (0-1), C McFaul (0-2); D Tallon (0-2), J Kielt (0-3, two frees), N Toner 1-0.

Subs: C Doherty for M McEvoy (49 mins), M Lynch (0-2, both frees) for D Tallon (49).

WESTMEATH: E Carberry; M McCallon, K Daly, B Sayeh; N Mulligan, S Duncan, J Dolan; A Stone, R O’Toole (0-1); K Martin (0-1), J Heslin (1-7, five frees), G Egan (0-2); C McCormack (1-4), L Loughlin (0-2), J Egan.

Subs: F Boyle for K Daly (33 mins), D Whelan for R O’Toole (69)

Referee: J Molloy (Galway)

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