Fresh from a 16-point victory over Laois in the Fr. Manning Cup tournament, the Westmeath under 16 footballers were brought back down to earth with a bang as Dublin dished out a 20-point hammering to the young men in maroon, in the Gerry Reilly tournament in Oldcastle last Saturday evening.
By Paul O’Donovan
While Troy Maher, who scored four goals in the demolition of Laois, was out of this game through injury, it was clear one man was not going to make much difference as Dublin showed their superiority in all areas of the pitch to run out very comfortable winners.
The Dubs were physically stronger, possessed great pace and understanding, and moved the ball around with great precision.
Ambrose McGowan’s side stayed with the Dubs until the closing stages of the first half, but Dublin’s second goal in the 24th minute gave them a commanding lead of 2-6 to 0-4 at the break.
Westmeath were completely overwhelmed in the second half and the quality of the Dublin subs showed their great strength in depth as they continued to pick off some great scores right up to the final whistle.
Westmeath had began this tournament with victory over Meath, but after this defeat to Dublin they now need to beat Louth in their final group game and hope other results go their way if they are to progress to the final. At this stage Westmeath’s best chance would appear to be a place in the Plate final.
WESTMEATH’S GOOD START
Westmeath began this game with the opening point when Cathal Mannion converted a free after he was fouled off the ball. Dublin replied when Jeff Rafter broke through to send over the equaliser, but Westmeath moved into a two-point lead when Dylan Carroll converted a free and Sean Pettit pointed from play.
Westmeath received their first setback when Dublin scored their first goal after nine minutes, Ciaran Dowling burst through the Westmeath defence and finished neatly under Matthew Rowden into the net. But Westmeath drew level on 13 minutes when Dáire Hynes was fouled following a good move and Dylan Carroll popped over from the resultant free.
Westmeath were doing quite well at this stage and Jamie Rooney was having a fine game mopping up and clearing to great effect from the Westmeath defence.
However, all of a sudden Dublin stepped up a gear and fired in 1-4 in the space of four minutes. Ciaran Dowling, Eric Rowan and two points from Michael Courtney, were followed by a goal from Courtney, after he fired to the net following a neat pass by Jeff Rafter.
Suddenly Dublin were leading by seven points and at the half time break it was eight, after Ciaran Dowling had popped over a point with his left foot to make it 2-6 to 0-4 at the interval.
Dublin dominated the second half, apart from a brief four-minute spell when Westmeath registered three of their four second half points. Apart from that, the Dubs’ power, strength, pace and ability to pick off scores, left Westmeath chasing shadows.
Jeff Rafter, Conor Lennon and Cormac Howley sent over early second half points for the metropolitans, while Michael Courtney added a free after eight minutes.
Westmeath briefly responded when Cathal Mannion converted one free, and Dylan Carroll two frees, to make it 0-7 to 2-10.
However the Dubs continued to attack in waves and Conor Lennon and midfielder Aaron Bradshaw scored two fine individual points.
Cathal Mannion scored Westmeath’s eighth point (seven of which came from frees), in the 48th minute, but Westmeath failed to score for the remaining 12 minutes as Dublin scored 2-4.
Aaron Bradshaw grabbed the score of the match and capped off a fine performance with a wonderful goal in the 51st minute, when he fired into the roof of the net after a strong solo run. Rafter then added a point, before Dublin sub Mark Donnelly scored 1-2 in the space of three minutes.
A point by Cormac Howley rounded off a clinical performance by the Dubs and secured a 20-point winning margin.
This was a difficult defeat for Westmeath but manager Ambrose McGowan used the opportunity to give all of his players a chance to play, including new additions Ben Treanor and Sean Loughlin. Matthew Rowden produced some good saves, and Cathal Mannion and Dylan Carroll did well from placed balls, while Jamie Rooney stood out for his overall display.
teams and scorers
Scorers-Dublin: Michael Courtney 1-3 (0-1 from a free), Ciaran Dowling 1-2, Mark Donnelly 1-2, Aaron Bradshaw 1-1, Jeff Rafter 0-3, Conor Lennon 0-2, Cormac Howley 0-2, Eric Rowan 0-1.
Westmeath: Cathal Mannion 0-4 from frees, Dylan Carroll 0-3 from frees, Sean Pettit 0-1.
DUBLIN: Evan Comerford (Ballymun Kickhams); Malachy Tighe (St. Brigid’s), Rob Shaw (Castleknock), Darragh McKenna (St. Brigid’s); Aaron Carey (St. Oliver Plunkett’s), James Holland (Ballyboden St. Enda’s), Dan O’Brien (Kilmacud Crokes); Aaron Bradshaw (Ballinteer St. John’s), Sean Gibbons (Castleknock); Cormac Howley (Round Towers, Lusk), Ciaran Dowling (Lucan Sarsfields), Jeff Rafter (Na Fianna); Tom Downes (O’Dwyer’s), Eric Rowan (Thomas Davis). Subs used and squad members: James Cannon (St. Anne’s), Hugh Keller (Ballyboden St. Enda’s), Conor Lennon (St. Finian’s, Swords), Ciarán Smith (Lucan Sarsfields), Mark Donnelly (St. Brigid’s), Tom Keane (Nh. Olaf), David Maloney (St. Sylvester’s), Paddy Smith (Clontarf), Conor Hynes (St Peregrine’s), Darragh McKenna (St. Brigid’s), Dylan Knight (St. Pat’s Donabate), Jack Rowe (Trinity Gaels).
WESTMEATH: Matthew Rowden (St. Mary’s Rochfortbridge), Plunkett Maxwell (Rosemount), Robert Cleary (Milltownpass), Ruairí Aspell (Shannon Gaels); Jake Fannin (Moate All Whites), Jamie Rooney (St. Mary’s Rochfortbridge), Maitiu Scully (Shandonagh); Colm Heffernan (Kilbeggan/St. Joseph’s), Adam Loughlin (The Downs): Ryan Norris (Shandonagh), Eoin Nally (Ballynacargy), Dáire Hynes (Millmore Gaels), Cathal Mannion (Garrycastle), Sean Pettit (Moate All Whites), Dylan Carroll (The Downs). Subs used and other squad members: Emmett Nally (Caulry), Sean Lyster (St. Mary’s Rochfortbridge), Ben Treanor (Shandonagh), Sean Loughlin (The Downs), Eoghan Gallagher (Milltownpass), Evan Gorman (Milltownpass), Tom Molloy (Shandonagh). Injured: Troy Maher (Ballynacargy).
Referee: Colm McManus (Meath).