By Mike Fitzpatrick
Tyrone 1-7, Westmeath 1-6
Westmeath’s season came to an end on Sunday at Gaelic Park with this heartbreaking one-point loss to their Div. I Ulster rivals Tyrone.
In a relatively low scoring encounter, where either side could really have claimed victory, it was the Ulster side who forced themselves through to face Kerry in next week’s showdown.
The talking point of the game was Tyrone midfielder Danny Barr’s second half goal which gave Tyrone an equalizer having been behind by three points thanks to Barney Healy’s goal for Westmeath.
Barr’s effort appeared to thunder from the crossbar and down, where it was judged to have crossed the line. Up until then, it was really a case of tit for tat; each time Westmeath hit a point, Tyrone followed suit.
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Level at three points apiece at the interval, it seemed even at that relatively early stage that extra time may have been necessary.
Healy’s goal followed Westmeath points from Niall Finnegan and Brian McCabe, whereas Barr’s effort continued where Emmet Woods, Dermot Morsden and Mark Daly had left off in the first half.
The cat was amongst the pigeons and nobody at Gaelic Park seemed willing to make a prediction concerning the outcome of the game.
Michael Slowey, having had a reasonably quiet first half by his standards, got on the score-sheet with an accurate free to move his side in front, but Westmeath’s Finnegan’s hit back to square the tie.
Slowey hit another brace in succession and it looked as if Duke Devlin’s side might have begun to swing Lady Luck in their favor. Westmeath were not to be outdone, however, and they introduced Dave Fitzgerald, perhaps a little later than he ought to have been. Fitzgerald knocked two efforts over the bar to bring his side back into the fray. Tyrone foreword Mark Daly hit final score of the afternoon giving Tyrone another close win and a tie versus Paddy Kearney’s young Kerry side awaits them.
In retrospect, it’s easy to question why Dave Fitzgerald was not introduced earlier, though who knew he’d have made such an impact for Westmeath. It could so easily have been a Kerry-Westmeath tie next week, but Tyrone live to battle another day.
Tyrone: Mike Deare, Aiden Lloyd, Sean Teague, Martin Slowey, Gary McConnell, Collie Fearon, Philip Sloan, Danny Barr (1-0), Kieran McGeeney (0-1), John Cormican, Michael Slowey (0-3), Philip Mallon, Mark Daly (0-1), Emmet Woods (0-1), Dermot Marsden (0-1). Subs: Paddy Redmond, Duke Devlin.
Westmeath: Emmet Haughian, Peter Dalton, Frank Kavanagh, Jimmy Hughes, Tom Quinn, Collie Mathers, Tom Moriarty, James Kavanagh, David Shaughnessy, Damian Gavin, Sam Yore, Barney Healy (1-0), Niall Finnegan (0-3), Brian McCabe (0-1), Martin Murtagh. Sub: Dave Fitzgerald (0-2).