Stephen Bennett scores 2-8 as Waterford make it two wins from two
Westmeath show plenty of effort in Mullingar but fall well short of the Déise
Waterford’s Stephen Bennett impressed in his team’s win over Westmeath. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Waterford 3-18 Westmeath 1-15
Waterford were always in control against Westmeath in Sunday’s Division 1A game in Mullingar, and ultimately they were not flattered by their nine-point winning margin.
Backed by a strong wind, Waterford led by 0-7 to 0-2 when Stephen Bennett pounced for their first goal in the 17th minute. The home team had the gap down to five points (1-8 to 0-6) with 26 minutes elapsed, but Liam Cahill’s men put a huge distance between the sides by scoring an unanswered 2-2 just before the break.
The goals arrived via the hurls of Jack Fagan (in the second minute of injury-time) and Bennett’s second (with the last puck of the first half) - meaning the Munster men led by 3-10 to 0-6 at the interval.
There was no shortage of effort from Westmeath, but they were the more wasteful of the two teams. Bennett continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over from placed balls - he scored four out of five ‘65’s awarded to his team throughout the game, in addition to four frees.
It was 3-13 to 0-9 in favour of Waterford when Niall Mitchell scored his side’s only goal in the 54th minute, after being picked out by impressive substitute Ciaran Doyle, who scored four points from play in the second half.
Waterford should have raised two more green flags before the end, but Bennett’s 64th-minute penalty was superbly saved by Aaron McHugh. Bennett had a ‘goal’ disallowed in the last minute of normal time for a ‘square ball’ infringement.
It was a careless error, because the net was unguarded, and it summed up an often-lethargic contest. Shane O’Brien’s charges continue to find life tough in the top flight after a 32-year absence, while Waterford have two wins from two.
Waterford: B Nolan (0-1); S Fives, C Prunty, S McNulty; K Power, D Fives, I Daly (0-1); J Dillon (0-1), M O’Brien; N Montgomery, D Lyons (0-2), J Fagan (1-0); D Hutchinson (0-1), S Bennett (2-8, 0-4 frees, 0-4 ‘65’s), P Curran (0-2). Subs: M Kearney (0-1) for O’Brien (27 mins), B Power for Hutchinson (42 mins), P Mahony (0-1) for Montgomery (49 mins), K Moran for Power (56 mins), T Barron for Curran (66 mins).
Westmeath: A McHugh; B Doyle, T Doyle, A Ennis; A Craig, A Clarke, S Clavin; C Boyle, E Price (0-1); J Boyle, D McNicholas, R Greville; N Mitchell (1-6, 0-5 frees), D Clinton (0-1), D O’Reilly. Subs: A Devine (0-2) for O’Reilly (16 mins), C Doyle (0-4) for Clinton (35 + 1 mins), A Cox for B Doyle (41 mins), S McGovern (0-1) for McNicholas (53 mins), J Gilligan for Greville (61 mins).
Referee: S Stack (Dublin).