Allianz HL D1: Waterford defeat spirited Westmeath
Allianz Hurling League Division 1A
WATERFORD 1-22 WESTMEATH 1-19
By Tomas McCarthy at Walsh Park
Thirteen man Waterford survived a late scare from 14 man Westmeath to scrape home by three points on an afternoon of sunshine and showers.
Killian Doyle lashed in a close range free for the visitors on 65 minutes to leave only two points between the sides (1-19 to 1-17).
Late points from Déise subs Kevin Moran and Kieran Bennett saw Liam Cahill’s men put their first win on the board. All Ireland minor and under 21 medallist Patrick Curran hit eleven frees for an experimental home team.
Cathal McAllister flashed three red cards in the second half as Jack Fagan, Cormac Boyle and Darragh Lyons all got their marching orders.
Cahill made 12 changes after the seven point defeat to Cork last Sunday. Ian Kenny, Iarlaith Daly and Jack Fagan were the three survivors. He gave first league starts to Billy Power and Michael Kiely.
Westmeath boss Shane O’Brien went with five switches as Aonghus Clarke, Shane Clavin, Cormac Boyle, Niall Mitchell and Killian Doyle all started.
In a free ridden first quarter, Patrick Curran converted five placed balls as the hosts opened up a four-point gap. Niall O’Brien notched four frees at the other end with Cormac Boyle and Killian Doyle on target from play as Westmeath closed to two.
On 15 minutes, Peter Hogan found Mikey Kearney and the Ballyduff Upper man slipped the ball under Eoin Skelly on the greasy surface. A Jack Prendergast point left them 1-8 to 0-6 up at the first water break.
Curran’s sixth free established a six-point lead on the restart before Killian Doyle landed a massive free for the visitors. Westmeath were wasteful in the second quarter as they shot seven wides. It was a stop start affair with 26 frees in the opening 35 minutes.
Seamus Keating, Kieran Power and DJ Foran moved Waterford eight up approaching the break. Aonghus Clarke and Davy Glennon left the Lake County six down at the change of ends (1-12 to 0-9).
Two more Curran conversions made it an eight-point game. Jack Fagan was then sent off on a second yellow card for a tackle on Darragh Egerton. With the extra man, Westmeath got within five after O’Brien and Glennon split the posts (1-14 to 0-12).
The favourites responded with four unanswered points as Curran broke double figures. Westmeath didn’t throw in the towel and two Killian Doyle frees and one apiece from Davy Glennon and Josh Coll made it 1-18 to 0-16. Curran and Doyle traded frees before Cormac Boyle was brandished a red card for a challenge on Peter Hogan. Doyle created a grandstand finish when he dispatched a free past five Déise defenders on the line. Two points in it. Game on.
Cahill turned to his bench and former captain Kevin Moran landed a massive score from midfield. Kieran Bennett added two more and Waterford were out of the woods.
Sub Darragh Lyons saw red for a high tackle on Aonghus Clarke.
Liam Cahill’s side will welcome Limerick to Walsh Park next Sunday in a repeat of the 2020 Munster and All Ireland finals.
Scorers for Waterford: P Curran 0-11 (11fs), M Kearney 1-0, DJ Foran 0-3, K Bennett 0-2, S Keating, K Power, P Hogan, B Power, J Prendergast, K Moran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Westmeath: K Doyle 1-7 (1-5fs), N O’Brien 0-6 (6fs), D Glennon 0-3, A Clarke, C Boyle, J Coll 0-1 each.
WATERFORD: S O'Brien; I Kenny, S Fives, T Barron; K Power, I Daly, S Keating; P Hogan, B Power; DJ Foran, P Curran, J Fagan; J Prendergast, M Kiely, M Kearney.
Subs: J Dillon for B Power (46), K Moran for K Power (54), D Hutchinson for Kiely (54), K Bennett for Foran (54), D Lyons for Hogan (64), C Prunty for Barron (68), C Sheahan for Curran (68).
WESTMEATH: E Skelly; D Egerton, T Doyle, C Shaw; A Craig, A Clarke, S Clavin; C Boyle, R Greville; D Glennon, C Doyle, J Boyle; N O’Brien, N Mitchell, K Doyle.
Subs: T Gallagher for Clavin (HT), J Coll for Boyle (HT), B Doyle for Shaw (46), S Williams for O’Brien (50), D Clinton for C Doyle (54), E Ahearn for Mitchell (54), J Galvin for Glennon (65).
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).