All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier First Round – Waterford 3-22 Westmeath 0-14

Waterford defeated Westmeath by 3-22 to 0-14 in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier First Round on Saturday in Cusack Park Mullingar.

Ryan relief as class tells in end

Westmeath 0-14 Waterford 3-22

By Daragh Ó Conchúir for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Waterford were in cruise control in the second half of Saturday’s Cusack Park tie, but they were severely tested in the opening period by a committed, skilled and fired-up Westmeath unit relishing a shot at the big time. The game got off to a frantic start, with four yellow cards dished out inside three minutes by Diarmuid Kirwan, the first two to 17-year-old Liam Varley and Maurice Shanahan after an off-the-ball scuffle that led to a brief melee. Once the game settled down though, it was Westmeath that were the better side until half time, a fact acknowledged by Waterford manager, Michael Ryan. “We were disappointed with our first-half performance but, first of all, let’s give credit for Westmeath,” said Ryan afterwards. “They played very well. They were very committed. They seemed to be reacting to the breaks better than we were. We had a good chat at half time, we ironed out a few things and were happy with our second-half performance. “I felt in the first half our hurling was slow, we moved the ball a bit too slowly. We played in Division 1 so we should be capable of moving the ball a lot quicker. We did that in the second half and opened out the game as well. “We created the chances and above all, we finished the chances. Any time you win a championship game — we’ve now won two championship games in a row — that’s got to be good for us.”

Points from Derek McNicholas, Aonghus Clarke and Brendan Murtagh helped Westmeath establish an early 0-5 to 0-2 lead. Waterford were completely reliant on Shanahan at this juncture, with both their scores coming from the Lismore man. He added the next two points as well, including Waterford’s first from play, and Kevin Moran equalised with a fine effort from distance. But Westmeath’s touch was sure and the likes of McNicholas and Murtagh were looking very sharp. They stretched three points clear once more thanks to scores from the duo — including a 70m strike by Murtagh — and Eoin Price.

Crucially though, Brian O’Sullivan pounced for a 32nd-minute goal after some typical industry from Seamus Prendergast and the sides were level (0-10 to 1-7) at the break. They were three points clear when O’Sullivan availed of Seamus Prendergast’s industry to find the Westmeath net. “It almost came against the run of play but Brian O’Sullivan is that kind of a guy,” stated Ryan. “He’s well capable of taking chances. He gets into very good positions. I always feel if you can put him in possession close to goal, he’s capable of getting goals.”

Having settled down during the interval, Waterford seemed much more at ease after the resumption and had points from Prendergast, O’Sullivan and Shanahan before Tommy Doyle hit back for Westmeath. Shanahan was on fire though, and with more space available, landed some wonderful scores from play. Prendergast and O’Sullivan also prospered, with the latter bagging his second goal at the three-quarter mark. Shanahan brought his tally to 1-9 when goaling with a first-time ground shot in the game’s last act.

If Ryan was satisfied, so too was Hanley. The Westmeath manager was accurate in saying that the final margin was a bit harsh on his players, but hailed their efforts. “We said at half time that we didn’t want the moral victory” Hanley declared. “The moral victory was being in the game at half time but call a spade a spade, that’s not worth a damn to you. You’re not coming up here to do that. “Waterford should be doing what they did to us in the second half. That’s the level they’re at and we’re two divisions behind and it showed. Their physicality was major. So was their first touch, their drive and their accuracy. “But Mike Ryan came in and was very complimentary of us. We finished with 11 U21s and it’s about what we do from here.”

Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan 1-9 (4f); B O’Sullivan 2-2; S Prendergast 0-3; K Moran, J Dillon 0-2 each; S Fives, D Fives, S O’Sullivan, J Barron 0-1 each

Scorers for Westmeath: D McNicholas 0-6 (4f); B Murtagh 0-3; E Price 0-2; A Clarke, J Shaw, T Doyle 0-1 each

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, L Lawlor, N Connor, D Fives, M Walsh, R Barry; R Foley, K Moran, J Dillon, P Mahony, S O’Sullivan, M Shanahan, S Prendergast, B O’Sullivan.

Subs for Waterford: G O’Brien for Mahony (53); E Barrett for D Fives (55); D Twomey for Foley (57); T Browne for Barry (61); J Barron for Dillon (64).

WESTMEATH: P Collins; P Fennell, T Gallagher, L Varley, D Fennell, A McGrath, A Price, E Price, R Greville, B Murtagh, J Boyle, J Shaw, N O’Brien, D McNicholas, A Clarke.

Subs for Westmeath: T Doyle for Shaw (38); G Greville for Gallagher (49); A Craig for O’Brien (65); S Power for R Greville (65); T Egan for Varley (66).

Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).


Westmeath 0-14 Waterford 3-22

Report from the

Waterford cruised into the next phase of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship qualifiers by beating hosts Westmeath by 3-22 to 0-14 in Mullingar this evening. But the Déise did not have it all their own way. The winning margin was a harsh judgement on the Lakesiders who held the odds-on favourites at 0-10 to 1-07 at half-time, with Brendan Murtagh and Derek McNicholas impressing.

But goals from Brian O’Sullivan and the superb Maurice Shanahan (1-09) saw the Munster outfit through, as they outclassed Brian Hanley’s gallant charges after the restart. Shanahan’s scoring haul and a brace of goals from Brian O’Sullivan were the key ingredients in this Cusack Park win, the visitors recovering their poise after McNicholas, John Shaw, Eoin Price and Brendan Murtagh all contributed to Westmeath’s brave bid in the first half.

Pound for pound, the hosts looked like the better team at the interval with wasteful Waterford heavily reliant on Shanahan, and parity secured only by virtue of O’Sullivan’s first goal. But Michael Ryan’s troops enjoyed the benefit of a strong breeze after the restart and set about dismantling Westmeath’s resistance, outscoring the home side by 1-11 to 0-01 in the space of 22 minutes. Shanahan, O’Sullivan, Jake Dillon and Seamus Prendergast dominated the scoring, before substitute Gavin O’Brien set up O’Sullivan for his second goal on 57 minutes, making it 2-18 to 0-11.

Brendan Murtagh responded with a fine point for the midlanders, but a cameo from veteran Tony Browne lifted the travelling Waterford support as the Déise applied the finishing touches. Browne, who turns 40 in a few days, did not score, but his county closed out the game with points from O’Sullivan, Kevin Moran, Shane Fives and substitute Jamie Barron. Shanahan then put the cherry on top of a satisfying day at the office, finding the net with a stoppage time rebound after Westmeath’s Peter Collins did well to save a fierce shot from Brian O’Sullivan.

WESTMEATH: Peter Collins; Liam Varley, Tommy Gallagher, Paul Fennell; David Fennell, Alan McGrath, Adam Price; Eoin Price (0-02), Robbie Greville; Brendan Murtagh (0-03), John Shaw (0-01), Derek McNicholas (0-06, 0-05f); Niall O’Brien, Joey Boyle, Aonghus Clarke (0-01).

Subs used: Tommy Doyle (0-01) for Shaw (38 mins, inj), Gary Greville for Gallagher (49), Aaron Craig for O’Brien (65), Shane Power for R Greville (65), Thomas Egan for Varley (66).

WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives (0-01), Liam Lawlor, Noel Connors; Darragh Fives (0-01), Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, Ray Barry; Richie Foley, Kevin Moran (0-02); Maurice Shanahan (1-09, 0-05f), Pauric Mahony, Shane O’Sullivan (0-01); Jake Dillon (0-02), Seamus Prendergast (0-03), Brian O’Sullivan (2-02).

Subs used: Gavin O’Brien for Mahony (53 mins), Eddie Barrett for D Fives (55), Dean Twomey for Foley (57), Tony Browne for Barry (60), Jamie Barron (0-01) for Dillon (63).

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

Team News

The Waterford Senior Hurling Team to play Westmeath on Saturday evening has been announced –

1. Stephen O’Keeffe Ballygunner

2. Shane Fives Carrigtwohill

3. Liam Lawlor Fourmilewater

4. Noel Connors Passage

5. Darragh Fives Tourin

6. Michael Walsh Stradbally

7. Paudie Prendergast Lismore

8. Richie Foley Abbeyside

9. Kevin Moran (CAPT.) De La Salle

10. Maurice Shanahan Lismore

11. Pauric Mahony Ballygunner

12. Shane O’Sullivan Ballygunner

13 Jake Dillon De La Salle

14. Seamus Prendergast Ardmore

15. Brian O’Sullivan Ballygunner

WESTMEATH (SH v Waterford): P Collins (St Oliver Plunkett’s); L Varley (Castletown Geoghegan), T Gallagher (Castlepollard), P Fennell (Castletown Geoghegan); D Fennell (Castletown Geoghegan), A McGrath (Clonkill), A Price (Clonkill); E Price (Clonkill), J Clarke (Castletown Geoghegan); B Murtagh (Clonkill), A Craig (St Oliver Plunkett’s), D McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels); N O’Brien (Castletown Geoghegan), R Greville (Raharney), J Shaw (Raharney).

Subs: S McGovern (Crookedwood), S Power (Clonkill), M Keegan (Clonkill), T Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels), B O’Mara (Crookedwood), G Greville (Raharney), T Egan (Clonkill), N Leonard (Brownstown), J Boyle (Raharney), A Clarke (Castletown Geoghegan), C Lynch (St Oliver Plunkett’s).

Match Preview

The second game of a an exciting double header at Cusack Park, Mullingar on Saturday sees Westmeath and Waterford go head-to-head with a place in Phase III of the Qualifiers at stake. Westmeath have a history of putting it up to the big hitters at Cusack Park – just ask Galway – but Waterford will make the trip full of confidence after last Saturday’s solid performance in Tullamore, where Maurice Shanahan scored 0-13 in a four-point win over Offaly.

The Lake County were in Ruislip, where they struggled at times in the first half but eventually wore the Exiles down and eased to a 1-15 to 0-11 win. That was Westmeath’s first win from eight attempts in the Qualifiers, while the Déise have a much more impressive record of played eight, won six and lost two. Waterford manager Michael Ryan has drafted in Richie Foley and Pauric Mahony, with Jamie Nagle and Jamie Barron make way. Westmeath boss Brian Hanley has opted for an unchanged side. The sides last met in the championship back in 2006, when Waterford won a qualifier tie in Mullingar by 3-22 to 1-14.