Roscommon defeat Westmeath to claim promotion to top flight
Westmeath relegated to Division Three only a year after playing in the top flight
Roscommon’s Diarmuid Murtagh scores a goal against Galway in the county’s U-21 Connacht final victory on Saturday. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy/Inpho
Roscommon 2-13 Westmeath 0-12
Second-half goals from Conor Daly and Senan Kilbride proved decisive as Roscommon gained promotion to Division One with a seven-point win against Westmeath in Mullingar, while in the process demoting the hosts to football’s third tier in 2016.
Points from Donie Smith, Daly, Ciarán Murtagh and Fintan Kelly had them leading by 0-4 to 0-0 before John Heslin opened Westmeath’s account in the 16th minute. A free by Heslin and a point from play by lively substitute Shane Dempsey late in the half enabled Tom Cribbin’s charges to be just a point in arrears at the interval, 0-6 to 0-5.
Outstanding substitute Diarmuid Murtagh, fresh from his man of the match performance in the evening previous’ Connacht Under 21 final, increased Roscommon’s lead with a wonderful point within 15 seconds of the resumption.
Three minutes later, Conor Daly found the net at the second attempt to put his side in a commanding position. However, Westmeath hung on grimly and were just two points behind (1-9 to 0-10) when Senan Kilbride volleyed the ball home after playing a neat one-two with Enda Smith in the 60th minute to seal the visitors’ victory.
Not a bad weekend for the Rossies, having added a fourth Under 21 provincial title in six years on Saturday hopes will now be high this summer, as will expectations. ROSCOMMON: D O’Malley; S McDermott, N Carty, N Collins; C Cafferky, N Daly, D Keenan; C Shine, F Kelly (0-1); C Daly (1-1), C Murtagh (0-3, two frees), M Healy; D Smith (0-1), S Kilbride (1-0), C Cregg. Subs: D Murtagh (0-4, one free) for Smith (26 mins), K Higgins (0-1) for C Murtagh (h-t), E Smith for Kelly (h-t), U Harney (0-1) for Healy (55 mins), R Stack for Cafferky (58 mins), C Compton (0-1, free) for E Smith (BC, 66 mins).
WESTMEATH: D Quinn; M McCallon, K Maguire, K Daly; J Egan, J Gilligan, D Lynch; P Holloway, J Stapleton; K Martin, R Connellan, G Egan (0-1); P Sharry, J Heslin (0-7, six frees), J Connellan. Subs: R Foley (0-1) for Sharry (10 mins), S Dempsey (0-2) for Stapleton (23 mins), D Glennon (0-1) for J Connellan (h-t), J Dolan for R Connellan (49 mins), L Smyth for Foley (64 mins).