Allianz HL D1: Cork edge out brave Westmeath
Allianz Hurling League Division 1
CORK 3-12 WESTMEATH 1-14
By Conor McKenna at TEG Cusack Park
Cork claimed their second victory in Division 1 of the Allianz Hurling League after a hard-fought four-point victory over Westmeath.
Westmeath played superbly and may see this as a missed opportunity, but there were certainly clear signs throughout of the progress the Lake County are making.
Cork did not play well, but had to raise their performance levels late on to get the win, which was just about deserved.
Cork opened the scoring courtesy of Luke Meade, before a point from Derek McNicholas levelled proceedings.
Two points from Conor Lehane restored Cork’s advantage, before four successive Patrick Horgan scores gave Kieran Kingston’s charges a four-point lead.
Westmeath came back into the game superbly however, scoring four points in a row from Allan Devine (3) and Joey Boyle to bring themselves right back into contention.
A fabulous side-line cut from Tim O’Mahony on the stroke of the half-time left the visitors three points up at the interval, with the scoreboard reading 0-8 to 0-5 in favour of Cork.
Disaster struck for the hosts shortly after the interval, as Cork were awarded a penalty after Patrick Horgan was fouled and the same player made no mistake with the finish to give Cork a six point advantage.
Westmeath hit back with a goal of their own immediately however, as a '65 from Allan Devine made its way into the back of the net to halve the deficit.
A point from Derek McNicholas reduced the deficit to two, before both sides were reduced to 14 players, as Damien Cahalane was shown a straight red card, which was followed by Joey Boyle’s second yellow.
It was tit for tat until the 55th minute, when a long ball from Bill Cooper made its way into the Westmeath net to stretch Cork’s lead to five.
Two Westmeath points then made it a one score game, before Cork were awarded another penalty after Seamus Harnedy was fouled and Horgan again found the net to stretch his sides lead to six.
Three Allan Devine frees gave Westmeath hope, though a late free from Horgan turned out to be the insurance score, as Cork held out for a four-point win.
Cork play host to Limerick next weekend, while Westmeath will travel to face Tipperary.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 2-8 (7f, 2-0 “pens”, 1 “65”), Bill Cooper 1-0, Conor Lehane 0-2, Tim O’Mahony 0-1 (1 S/L), Luke Meade 0-1.
Scorers for Westmeath: Allan Devine 1-8 (7f, 1-0 “65”), Derek McNicholas 0-2, Darragh Clinton 0-2, Joey Boyle 0-1, Aonghus Clarke 0-1.
*Cork: *Patrick Collins; Sean O’Leary-Hayes, Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane; Tim O’Mahony, Bill Cooper, Damien Cahalane; Chris O’Leary, Aidan Walsh; Luke Meade, Seamus Harnedy, Conor Lehane; Declan Dalton, Patrick Horgan, Jack O’Connor. *Subs: * Sean Twomey for Conor Lehane (11), Robert Downey for Sean Twomey (49), Niall O’Leary for Aidan Walsh (51), Brian Turnball for Jack O’Connor (60).
*Westmeath: *Aaron McHugh; Conor Shaw, Tommy Doyle, Adam Ennis; Aaron Craig, Aonghus Clarke, Liam Varley; Cormac Boyle, Eoin Price; Joey Boyle, Derek McNicholas, Robbie Greville; Niall Mitchell, Allan Devine, Ciaran Doyle. *Subs: *Alan Cox for Robbie Greville (9, B/S), Robbie Greville for Alan Cox (11, B/S reveral), Darragh Clinton for Niall Mitchell (44), Killian Doyle for Ciaran Doyle (51), Alan Cox for Conor Shaw (55), Shane McGovern for Robbie Greville (58), Brendan Doyle for Adam Ennis (65)
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)