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The Westmeath players celebrate with the O'Byrne Cup after victory over Dublin at Parnell Park. 
The Westmeath players celebrate with the O'Byrne Cup after victory over Dublin at Parnell Park. 

Westmeath defeat Dublin in O'Byrne Cup Final


Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup final

WESTMEATH 1-12 DUBLIN 0-10

By Paul Keane at Parnell Park, Dublin

A thrilling display from former captain Ger Egan propelled Westmeath to Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup title success at Parnell Park, their first win in 31 years.

New boss Jack Cooney has made the perfect start to life in charge of the midlands outfit who led the favourites virtually from pillar to post.

Dublin were in experimental mode again and senior selector Paul Clarke stood in to manage a group of fringe and rookie talents, many of whom have All-Ireland U-21 medals.

The group overcome Meath on penalties in the semi-finals last weekend but were no match for a seasoned and hungry Westmeath side this time.

Dublin led 0-2 to 0-1 early on but Westmeath took the lead in the 25th minute and retained it all the way until full-time.

It was an impressive display from the visitors for whom Egan, Kieran Martin and substitute Tommy McDaniel, who plays his club football in Dublin, all impressed.

They return to action on Sunday week in Division 3 of the Allianz League against Offaly while Dublin will travel to Clones to play Monaghan in Division 1.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin will consult with Clarke about what players should be retained from this group with Aaron Byrne, Sean McMahon and Sean Bugler all possibilities.

Conor McHugh, Andrew McGowan, Conor Mullally, Colm Basquel and Andrew McGowan, all senior panellists last year, will fancy their chances also.

Westmeath edged the first-half by 0-5 to 0-4 but should have been further clear with five wides and a missed goal chance.

Dublin responded by bringing on McHugh and Basquel but they couldn't rescue the game.

McHugh, the 2014 U-21 Player of the Year, did kick three points, two from frees, but Westmeath surged clear in the third quarter.

Egan was terrific in this period and added three points to his first-half haul of two points before slamming in a 58th minute goal.

He followed up after Westmeath's initial goal attempt was blocked and hit the net with a thunderous blast.

That score put Westmeath 1-11 to 0-6 ahead and in the clear with substitute Ger Leech adding a late point for good measure.

Scorers for Westmeath: Ger Egan 1-5 (0-1f), Tommy McDaniel 0-3, Ronan O'Toole 0-2, Ger Leech 0-1, Kieran Martin 0-1.

Scorers for Dublin: Aaron Byrne, Conor McHugh (0-2f), Sean Bugler 0-3 each, Stephen Smith 0-1 (0-1f).

Westmeath: Eoin Carberry; Killian Daly, Ronan Wallace, Boidu Sayeh; James Dolan, Noel Mulligan, David Lynch; Sean Flanagan, Sam Duncan; Ger Egan, Callum McCormack, Noel O'Reilly; Joe Halligan, Kieran Martin, Ronan O'Toole. Subs: Tommy McDaniel for McCormack (10), Ger Leech (0-01) for Halligan (51), Conor Slevin for Flanagan (60), James Maxwell for McDaniel (70), Ned Cully for O'Toole (73).

Dublin: Andy Bunyan; Nathan Doran, Sean McMahon, Ciaran Smith; Andrew McGowan, Conor Mullally, Robbie McDaid; Cormac Howley, Jack Hazley; Ryan Basquel, Aaron Byrne, Sean Bugler; Callum Pearson, Stephen Smith, Oisin Lynch. Subs: Colm Basquel for Lynch (h/t), Tom Lahiff for Hazley (h/t), Conor McHugh (0-03, 0-02f) for Pearson (h/t), Shane Boland for Ryan Basquel (50), Declan Monaghan for McGowan (55), Cormac Diamond for Smith (60), Liam Flatman for Doran (65), Lorcan Galvin for Howley (65).

Referee: David Hickey (Carlow).

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