By Peter Nolan
Westmeath dominated their neighbors Offaly, 1-20 to 0-6, in lopsided Senior Hurling encounter Sunday at Gaelic Park. It was Westmeath early and often as the Lake County side had far too much firepower for the Faithful.
With players of the caliber of Jonathan O’Callaghan, Martin Finn, and Meath star Nicky Horan in the forwards, Offaly were up against it. Finn was the first to press the scorekeeper into service with a well-struck point.
Horan, Finn and O’Callaghan again pointed, while Offaly struggled to gain possession. With the action all headed one way, Offaly keeper Paddy Donoghue was called on to save on several occasions. Donaghue eventually moved outfield, while David Reynolds donned the keeper’s jersey.
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The inevitable goal finally came when O’Callaghan took Lorcan Coll’s first-time ball and slashed it to the twines. Westmeath added two further points, from O’Callaghan and Finn, pushing the score to 1-7 to 0-0.
Finally, with 20 minutes gone in the half, Paul Carroll took a good pass from Sean Nolan and ended the Offaly drought. Unfortunately for Offaly, the reservoirs remained dangerously low. Offaly raised their game a bit in the second half, but the talent gap between these teams was too much to be bridged.
Offaly continue to struggle at the senior level and it must be asked, would they be better off competing on the junior level? For their part, Westmeath take the points and move on, as their record improves 2-1.
Man of the Match: Jonathan O’Callaghan.
Westmeath: Darren Fitzpatrick, Barry Smyth, Brian McCabe, Colm Reilly, Peter Dalton, Robbie Nolan, Jimmy Canty (0-1), Paddy Barry (0-1), Ronan Fagan, Martin Finn (0-4), Nicky Horan (0-3), Jonathan O’Callaghan (1-11), Lorcan Coll.
Offaly: Paddy Donoghue, Mike Dolan, Ed Flynn, Brian Delaney, Niall Marshall, John Hanlon, Eammon Coleman, Sean Nolan, Dan Coghlan (0-1), Enda Condren, Alan Gleason, Paul Carroll (0-5), Pat Leavy. Sub: David Reynolds.