Westmeath took a brief, early lead on two points from their best forward on the day, Andrew Mitchell, one each from play and a free. A very composed New York performance was keyed by outstanding defensive work from all six backs and goalkeeper Alan Gleason. The hosts rolled to an 0-8 to 0-3 lead with Tom Moylan’s sideline cut from 40 yards the best score of the bunch.
Westmeath kept in touch with a John Shaw point, that Gleason nearly pulled back. Mitchell followed with a point before Gleason successfully took a Westmeath point back from over the bar.
After New York’s Bonny Kennedy chipped in a point for the home cause,
both managers turned to their benches. David Loughnane checked in at midfield for New York while Darren McCormack’s entrance signaled that Westmeath knew they were in trouble.
Westmeath narrowed the gap to 0-12 to 0-8 by the half, with Bonny Kennedy registering three straight points for the home team. New York have found themselves leading in several Ulster Championship matches in recent years only to see the victory slip from their grasp on those occasions,
A long Bonny Kennedy free seconds after Kilkenny referee John Guinan’s second half throw in augured well for the Gotham squad, although Westmeath were quick to respond with points from Dermot Curley and Enda Loughlin.
Westmeath were shuttling players in from the sideline at regular intervals as the Christy Ring titilists looked for the right combination to unlock the New York defense. New York introduced Westmeath man Colin White, and like Loughnane, his contribution would prove vital. New York continued to add to their lead with points from Denis McCarthy, John Madden, Curtin, and two from White.
The back six of Matthew Mitchell, Tom Foy, Adrian Guinan, Niall Cahallane, John Madden and then Moylan, after the two Tipperary men switched, and Tadgh Healy gave nothing away. Gleason robbed Andrew Mitchell on a key play and Matt Mitchell cleared to frustrate the visitors.
Two Andrew Mitchell points for Westmeath sandwiched one for Loughnane and New York remained comfortably ahead, 0-19 to 0-11, with time running out on the Lake County men.
New York’s comfort was soon replaced by anxiety when a Joe Clarke rocket ended up in the New York goal. Gleason made an acrobatic stab at the ball, but despite his deflection, the slithoar still found its target.
Now New York led by 0-4, 0-19 to 1-12, as they tried to hang on for four more minutes. Westmeath threw everything into the attack pinning New York deep in their own end and raining slithoars on Gleason’s goal. Fullback Tom Foy, something of a surprise in that position, pulled off one great block, and then another. On the second the ball popped high in the air at the edge of the small square.
The ball might have ended up anywhere, but Tom Moylan secured the slithoar and New York had the victory.
Man of the Match: Niall Cahallane.
New York: Alan Gleason, Matthew Mitchell, Tom Foy, Adrian Guinan, Niall Cahallane, John Madden (0-1), Tadgh Healy, Tom Moylan (0-2), Paul Murray, Bonny Kennedy (0-6), Shane Cunnigham (0-1), Cathal Curtin (0-3), Roy Henley (0-1), Kevin Kennedy (0-1), Denis McCarthy (0-1) Subs: Dave Loughnane (0-1), Colin White (0-2).
Westmeath: Brian Conaty, Dermot Curley (0-1), Paul Greville, Conor Jordan, Noel Gavin, Brendan Murtagh, Brian Connaughton, Greg Gavin, Enda Loughlin (0-2), Ronan Whelan, John Shaw (0-2), Andrew Mitchell (0-5), Brian Smith (0-1), Joe Clarke (1-1), Blain Lehart Sub: Darren McCormack, Killian Cosgrove.
Referee: John Guinan.