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Westmeath Topic - 15 February 2018

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TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 SPORT 59 ways against Wexford just failing to get enough on a loose ball inside the square to direct it to the net. Wexford, playing with a very strong wind behind them, opened the scoring in the sixth minute when the experienced Ben Brosnan collected a pass from a line ball out on the left and turned inside before pointing. This was to prove Wexford’s only point of the opening 23 minutes, however. Westmeath replied with three points in quick succession. Kieran Martin cut in from the left and sent over the equaliser, before John Heslin exchanged passes with Martin, with Heslin then giving Westmeath the lead - a lead Westmeath would retain until the finish. Minutes later Kieran Martin won a Wexford kick out and sent over Westmeath’s third point. On the quarter hour mark goalkeeper Eoin Carberry came to Westmeath’s rescue when he advanced smartly to deny Nick Doyle a certain Wexford goal, following yet another loose ball inside the visitors square. Good work by Kieran Martin saw the Maryland man win a free from which John Heslin converted from the left wing, leaving Westmeath ahead by 0-4 to 0-1 after 20 minutes. Westmeath wasted their next few chances - McDaniel, McCormack and Egan - all wide or short of the mark - and then a poor kick out by Eoin Carberry at the other end allowed Paul Curtis to send over a point for Wexford. Westmeath probably needed a goal to settle them at this stage but when Ronan O’Toole set up Tommy McDaniel he opted to fist over a point, when possibly the goal was worth going for. McCormack once more extended the Westmeath lead on 28 minutes but yet again some players took NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVIS ION 3 LEAGUE TABLE P W D L Pts diff Pts Armagh 3 3 0 0 24 6 Longford 3 2 0 1 17 4 Fermanagh 2 2 0 0 13 4 Westmeath 3 2 0 1 -3 4 Sligo 2 1 0 1 -11 2 Derry 2 0 0 2 -10 0 Wexford 3 0 0 3 -11 0 Offaly 2 0 0 2 -19 0 A goalmouth scramble...Westmeath's Callum McCormack just fails to turn the ball into the Wexford net as Wexford goalkeeper, Matt Doyle, advances to clear the danger. the wrong option, with Luke Loughlin shooting wide when Kieran Martin looked to be in a better position. At the other end of the pitch Ger Egan produced a wonderful catch inside his own square to keep Wexford at bay. Wexford did finish the half the stronger though and a sharp turn and point by Paul Curtis was followed by a routine tap over free converted by Ben Brosnan, after the referee had brought the free across in front of the goals after dissent by a Westmeath player. So the half ended with Westmeath leading by 0-6 to 0-4 after they had played into a very strong tricky wind. John Heslin for Westmeath (a’45) and Ben Brosnan for Wexford both converted from placed balls for their respective sides in the opening five minutes of the second half, with Brosnan adding a point from another free three minutes later. But overall the poor shooting from both sides continued to be a feature of this low key game. WESTMEATH SURGE AHEAD Then Westmeath upped the tempo and struck a purple patch outscoring their opponents by 0-7 to 0-2 between the 45th minute and 55th minutes. The hard working Ronan O’Toole set up John Heslin for a fine point to begin Westmeath’s mini scoring spree and then Ger Egan found Luke Loughlin who finally opened his account with a good point. This was the first of three points in a row from Loughlin, who was working hard and enjoying this spell of scoring, as he added a good left wing point and then a more central effort, after a good pass by sub Finbar Coyne. The best score of the match was yet to come and John Heslin provided this, majestically curling a point over from close to the grandstand from over 40 metres out on the right wing. Ronan O’Toole then set up Finbar Coyne for a point, and minutes later a quick free down the right by Callum McCormack released Ger Egan who popped over a good score from the wing. During this ten minute period Wexford’s only replies came from a James Stafford point, after a quick free by Nick Doyle, while Paul Curtis added another point after being set up by Tiernan Rossiter. So with 15 minutes remaining Westmeath led by 0-14 to 0-8 but somewhat disappointingly they didn’t drive home their advantage. Stafford chipped in with a quick point for Wexford, before sub Jamie Gonoud set up Ronan O’Toole for a Westmeath point. Both sides then squandered some very good opportunities of scores, not least John Heslin, who saw his near post effort for a goal, strike the post before going wide, after some initial great work involving Loughlin, Mark McCallon and Ger Egan. Minutes later though Westmeath stretched their lead out to seven, as McCallon set up Heslin for his sixth point of the afternoon. Wexford replied through a rare Brian Malone point and then in the final three minutes of added time Westmeath passed the ball around but needlessly put themselves under pressure. Sloppiness allowed Wexford’s Syl Byrne set up corner back Conor Carty and his powerful shot was well saved by a diving Eoin Carberry in the Westmeath goals. This save proved crucial as deep in injury time a Wexford shot at goal took a deflection and dropped neatly for Tiernan Rossiter to turn into the net from close range. Luckily the referee blew the final whistle on the resulting kick out and Westmeath had secured two more points in the Division Three campaign. Westmeath will face stiffer tests than this against a limited, young and inexperienced Wexford side for whom Ben Brosnan and Daithi Waters are still their main players. Westmeath hunted well in packs and pressurised their opponents, but the full back line still looks suspect under pressure. Eoin Carberry made some vital saves, while Mark McCallon and Frank Boyle made good interceptions. Westmeath have huge potential in attack and will be boosted by a number of players returning to the squad and when all the players click Westmeath will take some beating on their day. Scorers-Westmeath: John Heslin 0-6 (0-2 from frees, 0-1 from a ‘45), Luke Loughlin 0-3, Kieran Martin 0-2, Tommy McDaniel 0- 1, Callum McCormack 0-1, Finbar Coyne 0-1, Ger Egan 0-1, Ronan O’Toole 0-1. Wexford: Ben Brosnan 0-4 (0-3 from frees), Tiernan Rossiter 1-0, Paul Curtis 0-3, James Stafford 0- 2, Brian Malone 0-1. Westmeath: Eoin Carberry; Mark McCallon, Frank Boyle, Killian Daly; David Whelan, Noel Mulligan, James Dolan; Sam Duncan, John Heslin; Kieran Martin, Ronan O’Toole, Luke Loughlin; Tommy McDaniel, Callum McCormack, Ger Egan. Subs used: Finbar Coyne for Tommy McDaniel (44 minutes), Jamie Gonoud for David Whelan (injured, 47 minutes), Denis Corroon for Kieran Martin (64 minutes). Wexford: Matt Doyle; Mark O’Neill, Jim Rossiter, Conor Carty; Glen Malone, Brian Malone, Eoghan Nolan; Daithi Waters (capt.), Nick Doyle; Tiernan Rossiter, Ben Brosnan, Robert Frayne; Paul Curtis, James Stafford, Barry O’Connor. Subs used: Barry O’Gorman for Eoghan Nolan (injured, 17 minutes), Craig McCabe for Barry O’Connor (49 minutes), Donal Shanley for Robert Frayne (55 minutes), Shane Doyle for Barry O’Gorman (injured, 59 minutes), Martin O’Connor for Mark O’Neill (69 minutes), Syl Byrne for Daithi Waters (70 minutes). Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare). Westmeath's Luke Loughlin shoots for a point before Wexford's Brian Malone can close in during last Sunday’s Allianz Football League Division 3 game, in Innovate Wexford Park. Topic’s take on the match MAN OF THE MATCH No real outstanding player on the pitch for Westmeath on this occasion but for sheer work rate, endeavour, tackling and always looking to get on the ball and drive the team forward Ronan O’Toole gets the nod for the men in maroon. SCORE OF THE MATCH John Heslin curled over a beautiful shot from out on the right wing near the sideline in the 52nd minute that was a top quality score. GAME CHANGER Wexford’s Conor Carty burst through at the start of injury time and he would have scored a goal but for a fine save by Westmeath goalkeeper, Eoin Carberry. In the end Westmeath just won by three points. MATCH OFFICIALS This was a straight forward enough game for referee Brendan Cawley with no major decisions and just a few yellow cards late on. TALKING POINTS Once again, just like the game in Derry, Westmeath, when leading comfortably allowed the opposition back into the game late on. Westmeath’s tally of 16 wides is also a concern. On the plus side, eight different scorers and the return of Denis Corroon and Jamie Gonoud are certainly plus points. WHERE NEXT The O’Byrne Cup final against Meath scheduled for next week has been cancelled and put back until March 11 due to Meath having to play a rearranged league game next weekend. So Westmeath’s next game will be at home against Sligo on Sunday, February 25. MATCH ENTERTAINMENT (5 OUT OF TEN) This game never really reached any great heights of intensity or passion and Westmeath casually worked their way to a three-point victory. MATCH ATTENDANCE: 750.

60 TOPIC • 15 February, 2018 SPORT SOCCER NOTES MULLINGAR ATHLETIC FC NOTES A great week for former Mullingar Athletic player Aidan Keena Congratulations to former Mullingar Athletic player, Aidan Keena, who followed up his call to the Ireland Under 19 squad by scoring the only two goals of the game for Queens Park, securing a 2-0 win over East Fife in the Scottish League One on Saturday last, February 10th. Aidan, who signed for Hearts in August, has since joined Queens Park FC on a loan deal. REFURBISHMENTS AT GAINSTOWN The facilities of Mullingar Athletic FC are the envy of soccer clubs far and wide. However the club committee recognise the importance of continuing to invest in upgrading our facilities to ensure club members and visiting teams continue to have access to the best facilities available. Following the substantial investment in upgrading the flood lighting on our main grass pitch during last season, we are now undertaking a refurbishment of both our 5-a-side pitches in Gainstown. This week will see the completion of the replacement of all surrounding perimeter boards for both pitches. Phase two of this refurbishment project will see all lighting for both 5-a-side pitches and the training pitch behind upgraded to LED bulbs. It is intended this work will be completed by the end of February and the good news is that it’s business as usual during the ongoing renovations and current users of both 5-aside pitches will not be affected in any way. First team lose at home The Mullingar Athletic first team lost at home to Knocklyon on Sunday. This was a surprise defeat for Athletic as Knocklyon have been struggling in the league to date. However, Athletic remain top of Division 1B and they will look to get back to winning form when they travel to Dublin on Sunday to play Peagsus/St James. Girls U16/17 Soccer Training Mullingar Athletic are building a girls’ U16/17 squad. Weekly training takes place on Fridays from 5.15pm until 6.15pm on the all weather pitch. Training is open to all girls born on 2002, 2003 or 2004. We are looking forward to seeing you there. For more information contact Paddy on 085-7381021. Club Draw The winner of the Mullingar Athletic Club Draw for 2nd of February was Niall Dunne, c/o Niall Dunne and the winner for the 9th of February was Patrick McCarthy c/o Paul O’Donovan. Congratulations to the winners and thank you for supporting Mullingar Athletic FC. Mullingar Athletic – Results w/e Feb 11 LSL Mullingar Ath 1 Knocklyon Utd 3 MSL U11 Major Emo Celtic 0 Mullingar Ath Eagles 0 U12 Major Mullingar Ath Kestrals 4 T&S Utd 0 U13 Major Mullingar Ath 5 Tullamore TN 2 U14 Girls Mullingar Ath 3 Clara TN 4 U15 Div 1 Mullingar Ath Cougars 2 Mucklagh 0 U15 Div 2 St Joseph’s 4 Mullingar Ath Lions 4 Mullingar Athletic – Fixtures w/e Feb 18 LSL Sun Feb 18 Pegasus v Mullingar Ath 11.00am CCFL Sat 17 U17 Division 1 Mullingar Ath v St. Aengus 2.00pm U19 Premier IDLE Sun 18 Snr Men Clonaslee Utd v Mullingar Ath 11.00am Snr Ladies – Women’s Shield Prelim Round Mullingar Ath B v Birr Town 2.00pm MSL Sat Feb 17 U10 West Willow PK v Mullingar Ath Cubs 10.00am Birr TN v Mullingar Ath 12.15pm U11 Major Mullingar Ath Eagles v Gallen Utd 9.45am MSL U12 Cup Portumna TN v Mullingar Ath 12.00pm MSL U12 Shield Edenderry TN v Mullingar Ath Eagles 2.00pm U12 Major Mullingar Ath Kestrals v Mountmellick Utd 1.15pm U12 West Mullingar Ath Hawks v Raharney Raiders 12.00pm U13 Major Tullamore TN v Mullingar Ath Falcons 11.30am U13 West Mullingar Ath Kestrals v Clara TN 11.30am U14 Cup Killeigh v Mullingar Ath 11.45am U14 Girls Mullingar Ath v Athlone TN 12.45pm U15 Major Portlaoise AFC v Mullingar Ath 11.30am U15 Div 1 Clonaslee Utd V Mullingar Ath Cougars 1.15pm U15 Div 2 Mountmellick Utd v Mullingar Ath Lions 12.45pm MSL U16 Plate Kilcock Celtic v Mullingar Ath 2.00pm U16 Div 1 Mullingar Ath Cubs v Kilbeggan 10.30am Alex Sheerin bursts forward for Mullingar Athletic Kestrals during their match against T&S in Gainstown last Saturday. Pictured at the sponsorship of training tops to the Mullingar Athletic Under 14 girls by Supermacs in Gainstown last week are, back row from left: Shane Daly (Supermac’s), Linda Raeside (assistant), Ellie Gilgan, Alysha Brown, Emily Shaw, Ellie Carr Markey, Niamh Raeside, Derbhla Murphy, Sarah McAnaney, Lauren Power, Paddy Montgomery (manager) and Mick Brown (manager). Front row from left: Linda Raeside, Emer Wallace, Emily O’Keeffe, Hayley Dinnegan, Keelin Burke, Louise Callaghan and Shauna Callaghan. Mullingar Athletic under 14 girls receive sponsorship from Supermac’s Shane Daly of Supermac’s, Mullingar, presents Paddy Montgomery, manager of Mullingar Athletic Under 14 girls team, with a set of training tops in Gainstown recently. Defeat a setback for Athletic LEINSTER SENIOR LEAGUE DIVISION 1B MULLINGAR ATHLETIC 1 KNOCKLYON FC 3 Just when the opportunity arose for Mullingar Athletic to increase their lead at the top of the table, they slumped to a surprise 3-1 defeat at home to Knocklyon last Sunday afternoon in Gainstown. With a number of near rivals dropping points, this was the chance for Athletic to push on at the top. Instead, they gave a lacklustre performance against a struggling Knocklyon side, on a bitterly cold day. Despite playing into the wind in the first half, Athletic had the better chances and Kevin Keegan and Eoin Lanigan both went close, but at half time, it remained scoreless. Athletic sprung from the blocks early in the second half and continued to press, with Keegan and Stephen Daly going close, but as yet, the home side had not found the back of the net. Then, against the run of play, hesitancy in the Athletic defence allowed the Knocklyon striker to score, giving his side a surprise lead. Athletic reacted positively and three minutes later, the home side were level when Eoin Lanigan rounded the goalkeeper to Eoin Lanigan equalise. However less than a minute later, Knocklyon had once again regained the lead when their midfielder tapped home from close range, following a corner, to make it 2-1. Athletic pushed again for an equaliser but sub Conor Kavanagh saw his header fly just inches wide of the post. Deep in injury time, Knocklyon struck again, this time on the break, to clinch all three points, leaving Athletic pointless on this occasion. Athletic will hope to pick up the pieces and improve when they face Peagsus/St James’ this Sunday in Dublin. Mullingar Athletic: Craig Sweeney, Ben Treanor, Darren Jones, David Masterson, Stephen Daly, Sean Reid, Andrew Kelly, Enda Morris, Kevin Keegan, Eoin Lanigan. Subs used: Conor Kavanagh, David Mimnagh, Darragh Daly, Sergio Laslo.

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