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Chris O'Brien, Wicklow, and Eoghan Bateman, Kildare, in O'Byrne Cup action at Joule Park.
Chris O'Brien, Wicklow, and Eoghan Bateman, Kildare, in O'Byrne Cup action at Joule Park.

Saturday’s O’Byrne Cup round-up

Bord Na Mona O'Byrne Cup




OFFALY 1-16 LOUTH 1-10

By Paul Keane

Holders Westmeath came from behind with a late rally and a John Heslin equaliser to secure a dramatic draw with Meath.

Trailing their neighbours by two points entering stoppage time, the hosts dug deep with late scores from Stephen Connolly and Heslin to tie it up.

It concluded an entertaining game that swung back and forth throughout with visiting Meath seeking their first win of the campaign.

Donal Lenihan, back after missing the 2019 season, netted for the Royals in the 15th minute and Bryan McMahon added a point to nudge them 1-4 to 0-3 ahead.

But Callum McCormack's 27th minute Westmeath goal gave Jack Cooney's men the impetus at half-time with a 1-7 to 1-5 advantage.

Meath came good in the final quarter to reel off four points in a row including scores from Caolach Halligan and Brian Conlon, moving them 1-13 to 1-11 clear.

But they couldn't hold on as Connolly first pulled back a point for Westmeath and talisman Heslin then converted a free in the fifth minute of stoppage time to level it.

There was similar drama in Enniscorthy where Mark Barry hit a 72nd minute winning point for Laois.

It means new Wexford manager Paul Galvin is still searching for his first win following a Round 1 loss to Westmeath.

His team battled hard for him and a 70th minute goal from the hosts had levelled it at 1-11 apiece before Barry intervened with that winning point.

New Wexford manager Paul Galvin.
New Wexford manager Paul Galvin.

Galvin's Wexford started brightly and led 0-5 to 0-2 but Barry's 24th minute goal put Laois ahead for the first time and they didn't look back.

It's Laois' first competitive win under their own Kerry native, Mike Quirke, following their Round 1 reversal against Offaly.

Daniel Flynn capped his return to Kildare duty after a year out with 1-2 as the Lilies ran out seven-point winners over Wicklow in Aughrim.

In what proved to be the ultimate game of two halves in high winds, Kildare fell 2-6 to 1-0 down after 28 minutes before fighting back and overwhelming Wicklow with a dominant second-half.

Darren Hayden had netted twice for Wicklow inside 90 seconds but Kildare outscored them 1-14 to 0-1 from there on.

Chris Byrne registered Kildare's opening goal after 22 minutes and former back to back All-Star nominee Flynn slammed their second after the restart.

It was Kildare's first competitive win under Jack O'Connor and Jack Robinson, a former minor and junior star for Kildare, top scored with 0-6.

O'Connor used several players who starred for new Wicklow manager Davy Burke when he guided Kildare to the 2018 All-Ireland U-20 title.

Meanwhile, a strong second-half performance that included an Anton Sullivan goal powered Offaly to a six-point win over Louth.

The sides were tied at half-time, 0-6 to 0-6, but Sullivan's goal allied to three points from Cian Johnson ensured back to back wins for the Faithful.

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