EirGrid Leinster U20: Offaly march on
EirGrid Leinster Under 20 Football Championship Quarter-Final
OFFALY 1-17 WESTMEATH 1-10
By Kevin Egan at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park
A late fourth quarter surge from Westmeath proved to be too little and too late in Tullamore as Offaly recorded a comfortable seven-point win to secure their place in tomorrow’s Leinster U-20 championship semi-final draw, alongside Kildare, Meath and Dublin.
After a competitive first quarter that saw Westmeath move into an 0-4 to 0-2 lead, the home side completely took control of this game at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park, outplaying their midland rivals in every key phase of the game. While Brian Kavanagh was a constant scoring threat at top of the left, the rest of the Westmeath attack was completely shut down by the Offaly defence.
The Ferbane duo of Kyle Higgins and Seán Ibbotson won the lion’s share of ball at midfield, and up front it was the twin threat of Cian Johnson and Cian Farrell that led the way for the Faithful men, though the industrious support play of Conor Dunne and Dan Wyer was also crucial to the cause.
Farrell and Johnson have now combined to score 2-35 between them in three games at this level this year, and it was a series of Farrell frees that helped Offaly into a 0-10 to 0-5 interval lead.
That became 0-16 to 0-6 by the 43rd minute as Westmeath had no answer to the purposeful running play of the Offaly attack. Johnson could also have added a couple of goals, only to see one effort crash back off the crossbar and have another blocked by the legs of Eoin Geraghty.
A close-range goal from Kavanagh kickstarted Westmeath’s late revival and they had a glorious chance to cut the lead to three points when they were awarded a penalty with five minutes to play. Barry Rohan was able to save Adam Loughlin’s poorly-struck effort however and Offaly’s passage to the last four was rubberstamped when Rohan’s clubmate Jack Darcy fired in a late goal to complete the scoring.
Scorers for Offaly: Cian Farrell 0-8 (7fs, 145), Cian Johnson 0-4, Jack Darcy 1-0, Shane O’Brien 0-2 (1f), Dan Wyer, Conor Dunne and Pa Robilliard 0-1 each.
Scorers for Westmeath: Brian Kavanagh 1-4, Conor Dillon 0-2, Daniel Reid, John Tumulty, Adam Loughlin and Seán Pettit (f) 0-1 each.
OFFALY: Barry Rohan; Ronan Hynes, Pa Robilliard, Aidan Bracken; Jack O’Brien, Stefan Geoghegan, Jack Quinn; Kyle Higgins, Sean Ibbotson; Kevin McDermott, Cian Farrell, Dan Wyer; Cian Johnson, Conor Dunne, Shane O’Brien.
Subs: Ed Bennett for Geoghegan (HT), Robin Galbriath for Wyer (53), Jack Darcy for S O’Brien (54), Andrew Delaney for Ibbotson (59), Seamus O’Brien for J O’Brien (60+2).
WESTMEATH: Jordan Nugent; Eoghan Bracken, Gareth Carr, Joe Moran; Conor Dillon, Eoin Nally, Plunkett Maxwell; Adam Loughlin, John Tumulty; Daniel Reid, Nigel Harte, James Maxwell; Tom Molloy, Seán Pettit, Brian Kavanagh.
Subs: Eoin Geraghty for Nugent (11), Ben Treanor for Moran (22), Sean Clinton for Nally (28, blood), Clinton for Reid (44), Kevin Regan for Harte (53), Robbie Forde for Dillon (55).
REFEREE: Patrick Maguire (Longford).