By Mike Fitzpatrick
Westmeath 2-14, Cavan 0-7
Westmeath went on the attack early in this game, with Shane King, Dave Fitzgerald and Garret Bailey all hitting points over the bar to give their side an early lead over Cavan. Dessie O’Reilly, arguably Cavan’s best player on the day, hit back with a few efforts of his own to cut Westmeath’s winning margin, but coming to the end of the first half it was a runaway lead that Westmeath had in their possession.
The first half finished with the lads from Westmeath firmly in charge. More points from King, Damian Gavin and Kevin McKinlay suggested that we may have had a record score hit by Cavan’s on-form opponents.
Westmeath continued their good streak in front of goal after the interval, and Cavan began to look tired and expecting defeat. They never really made much of an effort at fighting back when the going got tough, and despite good displays from Joe Cassidy and a number of Cavan players, it was to be Westmeath’s day.
Cavan surprised quite a lot of New York GAA people earlier in the year at Gaelic Park by hammering Frank Brady’s reigning champions Leitrim. People then began to expect crazy things from Cavan, but since that fantastic victory they have slid right down the table and haven’t picked up a solitary point since, losing their last three games.
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Westmeath, in contrast to their Division One rivals, have won three of their four games to date, and are clearly in the running for one of the much coveted playoff spots in this year’s championship.
Westmeath have proved themselves to be a side which never succumb to defeat, having been behind in a game and pulled off victories over sides when they were least expected to. They do have a couple of potentially tough games coming up versus Stamford, Leitrim and Tyrone, where their mettle will be severely tested, as all three of those sides are still in contention for playoff places. On Sunday, Westmeath finally silenced many of their critics with a fine all round display in which they never looked in serious danger of losing.
Westmeath: Emmet Haughian, David Bailey, Frank Kavanagh, Tom Moriarty, Collie Mathers, Kevin McKinlay (0-1), Tom Quinn, Sam Yore, James Kavanagh (0-1), Barney Healy, Damian Gavin (0-2), Martin Murtagh (0-3), Shane King (0-5), Garret Bailey (0-1), Dave Fitzgerald (1-0). Subs Mike Healy (1-0), David Flanagan (0-1).
Cavan: Finbarr Flood, Kieran Reilly, Emmet McGinlay, Barney Brady, Joe Cassidy, Cormac McGinlay (0-1), Barry Annette, Martin Cusack (0-1), Aidan Canville, Dessie O’Reilly (0-4), Declan McCarthy (0-1), Gareth Toner, Anton Diver, Gary McDermott, Andy McEvoy.