Mayo V Westmeath Match Report
- May 22,2021
Allianz National Football League, Division 2, Round 2 – TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar.
Mayo 0-21 Westmeath 2-12
Mayo had to dig deep and come from behind to secure both points in this keenly contested NFL Round 2 encounter at TEG Cusack Park in Mullingar. Mayo made three late changes to the starting fifteen with Eoghan McLoughlin coming in for Rory Brickenden, Ben Doyle making his league debut in place of Enda Hession and Conor Loftus starting in place of Kevin McLoughlin.
The home side were dogged and very determined from the off and had Mayo rattled in the early stages. Luke Loughlin scored a fortuitous early goal for Westmeath after Ronan O’Toole’s point effort came back off the upright. Loughlin pounced at the opportunity and riffled a great shot past Rob Hennelly for the opening score of the game after just three minutes of play.
The early exchanges were nervy and Mayo lacked composure in front of goal. Westmeath played the better football before the sos uisce but when Mayo settled they reeled off some lovely points from Eoghan McLoughlin, Paddy Durcan, Conor Loftus and a free from Cillian O’Connor. Matthew Ruane also landed two great individual scores from play to settle any early nerves and give his side a good platform heading in at the break. Ger Egan from play and the deadly accurate John Heslin kept Westmeath in the hunt close to the short whistle. Westmeath landed another sucker punch just before half time when Heslin converted a late penalty after Diarmuid O’Connor fouled Ronan O’Toole close to the goal. O’Connor was black-carded for the infringement and Westmeath headed for the dressing one point in front 2-05 to 0-10.
The second half produced some excellent all out attacking play with both sides eager to secure the two points. Early points from Tommy Conroy and Cillian O’Connor pushed Mayo in front but plunky Westmeath never wilted. Ronan O’Toole landed a lovely score for the Lake County after he caught a mark just inside his own half. Man-of-the-match Paddy Durcan drove Mayo forward after the second water break with the determination of substitute Colm Boyle, the evergreen Lee Keegan, Kevin McLoughlin and the flawless Cillian O’Connor showing all their experience in the closing stages. Mayo were 0-17 to 2-07 in front late on but two outstanding 45’s from Luke Loughlin and a brilliant effort from play from Heslin had the gap back down to a single score. Mayo had to dig deep in extra time with James Horan bringing reinforcements from the bench. Kilmeena’s Jack Carney made his league debut, James Carr, Brian Walsh, Boyle and McLoughlin all rose to the challenge and steadied the ship once again. Two late free from Cillian O’Connor settled the encounter after a titanic second half battle.
Mayo: R Hennelly; B Doyle, O Mullin, L Keegan; M Plunkett, P Durcan (0-03), E McLaughlin (0-01); M Ruane (0-02), D O’Connor; F McDonagh, C Loftus (0-02), J Flynn (0-01); T Conroy (0-01), C O’Connor (0-08, 0-07f), R O’Donoghue (0-01, 0-01 mark).
Subs: K McLoughlin (0-01) for Flynn (half-time), B Walsh (0-01) for McDonagh (half-time), C Boyle for Doyle (half-time), J Carr for Loftus (52), R Brickenden for McLaughlin (59), A Orme for Tommy Conry (64) J Carney for D O’Connor (69).
Westmeath: J Daly; J Dolan, K Maguire, B Sayeh; D Lynch, R Wallace, J Gonoud; S Duncan, R Connellan (0-01); S McCartan, R O’Toole (0-01, 0-01 mark), D Corroon; G Egan (0-01), J Heslin (1-06, 1-00penalty, 0-04f), L Loughlin (1-02, 0-02‘45’s).
Subs: F Ayorinde for Corroon (44), B Kelly for Duncan (54), C Slevin for Lynch (60), K Martin (0-01) for McCartan (65), T McDaniel for Egan (70).
Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).