Cork 0-10 Westmeath 0-2
CORK recorded their expected win over Westmeath in TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar yesterday afternoon.
The home players, fresh from an impressive win against Monaghan a week earlier, gave a very good account of themselves preventing the Leesiders from scoring any goals after conceding eight to the same opponents in the championship last year.
Despite playing against a strong wind, Cork had by far the better of the exchanges in the first half. The outstanding Niamh Cotter opened the scoring after a mere 20 seconds.
Aine O’Sullivan added a brace by the eighth minute, sandwiched between which Westmeath goalie Karen Walsh pulled off the first of many fine saves, on this occasion from Eimear Scally from close range.
Cotter had a ‘goal’ disallowed for a ‘square ball’ offence in the 20th minute. Three minutes later, tigerish corner-back Rachel Dillon pointed in style for Westmeath.
However, the visitors pounced for three more unanswered points by half-time courtesy of Orla Finn (a wonderful solo effort), Sadbh O’Leary (despite being pressurised) and Eimear Kiely (a quality finish). Cork led by 0-6 to 0-1 at the break.
Wind-assisted Cork struggled to dominate the second moiety as their opponents upped their game considerably and defended cleverly. O’Sullivan brought her tally to three points from play early in the half with a low-trajectory shot and Finn kicked the Rebel county’s remaining three points, including a 34th-minute free.
O’Sullivan should have netted with the goal at her mercy in the 49th minute, while Walsh continued to look solid between the sticks for a dogged Westmeath outfit.
The maroon and white-clad side had reasonable penalty claims waved away in the 59th minute before Maud Annie Foley deservedly got their second point from a free in added-time.
However, they seldom looked likely to score from open play against the wind, their most dangerous attack in the 41st minute bringing a great save out of Cork skipper Martina O’Brien from a dipping shot from Anna Jones at the expense of an unconverted 45.
Scorers for Cork: O Finn 0-4 (0-1 f), A O’Sullivan 0-3, E Kiely, N Cotter and S O’Leary 0-1 each.
Westmeath: R Dillon and MA Foley (f) 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Brien; S Leahy, M Ambrose, A Kelleher; D Kiely, M Duggan, E Kiely; A Hutchings, N Cotter; A O’Sullivan, L O’Mahony, O Farmer; E Scally, S O’Leary, O Finn.
Subs: C Collins for O’Mahony (blood, 15 - 21), C Collins for Scally (21), M Cahalane for Kiely (54), L Cleary for O’Mahony (54), C O’Shea for Hutchings (60), J Brew Dinan for Duggan (60 + 2), N Quinn for Ambrose (60 + 4).
WESTMEATH: K Walsh; R Dillon, J Rogers, L Power; F Coyle, K McDermott, F Claffey; K Boyce Jordan, V Carr; L McCartan, L Slevin, J Maher; S Dolan, A Jones, MA Foley.
Subs: N Feery for Slevin (30 + 1), L Brennan for Foley (30 + 2), MA Foley for Dolan (38), A O’Malley for Coyle (44), K Hegarty for McCartan (60), A Dolan for Carr (60).
Ref: G Carmody (Roscommon).