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Westmeath lose thriller in Mullingar!   27/05/2017

Shane Dooley’s hat-trick of goals fired Offaly to victory over Westmeath in a pulsating derby clash at Mullingar, 4-15 to 1-20.

With 3,105 spectators kept guessing right until the end of a captivating contest, the hosts looked to be on course for a victory that they will feel they deserved when leading by 0-18 to 1-13 with just eight minutes left after Joey Boyle – a late addition to their starting team – grabbed his third point.

What happened next was astonishing: Emmett Nolan drove at the heart of the Lake County defence and planted a low shot into the bottom corner to give the Faithfuls the lead and a point from centre back Dermot Shortt doubled their advantage with five minutes left.

Dooley then netted his second major at the second attempt before the superb Allan Devine (0-10) reduced the arrears with points from a free and a ‘65’. The hosts were level in sensational style in added time when Killian Doyle drilled a wonderful shot to the net from an acute angle. But, almost immediately, Dooley dived in to poke home his third goal and confirm the visitors’ passage to a Leinster semi-final meeting with either Dublin or Galway next month.

Defeat came as a cruel blow for Westmeath, who dominated long periods of this game – particularly in the first half – and had some key decisions go against them when the outcome was in the melting pot. But ultimately they go into the Qualifiers.  

A run of six unanswered points at the end of a first half they completely dictated had Michael Ryan’s charges ahead by 0-12 to 1-4 at the break. Darragh Egerton, Joey Boyle (2), Aonghus Clarke, Robbie Greville and Niall O’Brien fired over that sextet of scores in the last seven minutes of the opening half, with the Faithfuls managing just two scores from play before the short whistle. Crucially, however, they would bag 3-11 in total after the break.

Devine (2) and Dooley traded early frees before Dooley planted his first goal from the penalty spot in the seventh minute to make it 1-1 to 0-2. But another brace of Devine points tied the scores up again.

The excellent O’Brien edged the hosts back in front and Devine (free) cancelled out Padraic Guinan’s effort to keep his side ahead at the midway stage in the first half.

Oisin Kelly equalised with the goal at his mercy from in front of the posts and Dooley’s free had the Faithfuls back in front only for the falling Egerton to muster an inspirational equaliser seven minutes from the break. Boyle had the Lake County ahead once more after James Dempsey’s super save denied Greville and Aonghus Clarke supplied the third successive Westmeath score before Greville made it 0-10 to 1-4.

Boyle registered the Lake County's eleventh point and it was fitting that O’Brien’s brilliant point from a sideline cut brought the curtain down on a wonderful first-half showing from the home team.

The first two points after the restart were shared but Offaly drew within one with a run of points from Dooley (2), Kelly – who blazed over from close range – and Nolan, 1-9 to 0-13.

Doyle and Devine (free) stretched the gap to three approaching the three-quarters stage but Dooley (free), Joe Bergin and Liam Langton tied the score up again. A brace of Devine frees left two in it and Boyle replied to Dooley’s second from play as this magnificent match went right down to the wire and produced a finale that will be talked about long and hard in the midlands.

With three goals in the closing stages, Kevin Ryan’s men avenged last year’s defeat to their neighbours and moved into the last four of the Leinster senior hurling championship.


Offaly - J Dempsey; B Conneely, D Shortt (0-1), E Grogan; S Gardiner, A Treacy, D King; P Guinan (0-1), S Ryan; E Nolan (1-1), S Dooley (3-8, 1-0pen, 0-5f), O Kelly (0-2); S Cleary, S Kinsella, P Geraghty. Subs: J Bergin (0-1) for P Geraghty, P Murphy for A Treacy, L Langton (0-1) for S Kinsella, S Quirke for S Cleary, C Kiely for P Guinan.


Westmeath - P Moloney; S Power, T Doyle, T Gallagher; A Craig, P Greville, C Shaw; A Clarke (0-1), G Greville; C Boyle, K Doyle (1-2), J Boyle (0-3); R Greville (0-1), N O’Brien (0-2, 1sl), A Devine (0-10, 8f, 1'65). Subs: D Egerton (0-1) for T Gallagher, J Galvin for S Power, B Murtagh for N O’Brien.

Referee - S Cleere.


Report courtesy of Hogan Stand






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