WESTMEATH 1-12 DUBLIN 0-10 Westmeath were full value for their victory in the O’Byrne Cup final in front of a decent crowd at Parnell Park. The midlanders had the match-winner in forward Ger Egan who maintained his impressive early season run of form showing good accuracy as well as scoring the Westmeath goal in the 23rd minute of the second-half. It was a decisive score that effectively sealed the game for Westmeath when the hop of the ball from a delivery from midfield fooled the Dublin defence leaving the midlanders with an overall lap that they exploited at the second attempt after Dublin goalkeeper Andy Bunyan saved the initial effort. The Dubs did not create many goal-scoring opportunities but could question the ‘square ball’ call in the fourth minute of the second-half when half-time sub Colm Basquel flicked a Cormac Howley shot, dropping short, to the net as he competed in the air with keeper Eoin Carberry. It took Dublin 18 minutes to open their account in the first-half when the impressive Seán Bugler swung over off the left foot. A minute later a well weighted pass by Bugler invited Aaron Byrne to make it 0-2 to 0-1 to Paul Clarke’s men. Byrne was one of Dublin’s best operators in the opening half as his footwork, change of angles and pace prised open a well-organized Westmeath defence on a few occasions. By the interval Westmeath were 0-5 to 0-4 up and Dublin keeper Bunyan had done well to stop a goal attempt from Noel Mulligan. Westmeath got the opening three points of the second period before Conor McHugh broke their chain of scores. However, Westmeath got on top again with points from Ger Egan and Tommy McDaniel to move 0-10 to 0-5 clear. Egan’s goal left Dublin with far too much to do as both sides began to make several substitutions as Westmeath went on to secure the O’Byrne Cup. Dublin’s next game is their opening game defence of the NFL Division 1 title in Clones against Monaghan on Sunday, January 27. SCORERS – Westmeath: G Egan 1-5 (0-1f), T McDaniel 0-3, R O’Toole 0-2, K Martin, G Leech 0-1 each. Dublin: S Bugler, A Byrne, C McHugh (0-2f) 0-3 each, S Smith (0-1f) 0-1. WESTMEATH: E Carberry; R Wallace, B Sayeh, K Daly; J Dolan, N Mulligan, N O’Reilly; S Flanagan, S Duncan; G Egan, C McCormack, D Lynch; K Martin, J Halligan, R O’Toole. Subs: T McDaniel for McCormack (inj, 11), G Leech for Halligan (46), C Slevin for Flanagan (59), J Maxwell for McDaniel (70), N Cully for O’Toole (73). DUBLIN: A Bunyan; N Doran, S McMahon, C Smith; A McGowan, C Mullally, R McDaid; R Hazley, C Howley; R Basquel, A Byrne, S Bugler; S Smith, C Pearson, O Lynch. Subs: T Lahiff for Hazley (ht), C Basquel for Pearson (ht), C McHugh for Lynch (ht), S Boland for R Basquel (45), D Monaghan for McGowan (55), C Diamond for S Smith (59), L Flatman for Doran (65), L Galvin for Howley (65), Hazley for Byrne (71). REF: D Hickey (Carlow).


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