Thursday 22 March 2018

Bannon point sees Westmeath shock Tribesmen

WESTMEATH'S Paul Bannon proved the hero for his side as his point in the fifth minute of injury-time earned the home team an upset over Galway at Cusack Park in Mullingar yesterday.

The 0-14 to 0-13 win gave Westmeath their first points of the league.

The sides were level (0-6 each) at the break. Teenage midfielder John Heslin -- just back from a stint with Richmond Tigers in Australia -- was on form from frees but his colleagues wasted a number of good chances from open play.

Galway relied on Michael Martin from placed balls to keep in touch as their new-look team failed to gel to any great degree.

There was never more than two points between the sides and the tit-for-tat scoring continued on the change of ends. Damien Burke's introduction for the second half strengthened the westerners' forward division but Westmeath doggedly hung in, with Kieran Gavin prominent in defence.

TYRONE boss Mickey Harte doesn't plan on having his team lingering in Division 2 for too long.

After yesterday's 0-13 to 2-13 away win over Louth in Drogheda, he said: "The longer you're in it, people begin to accept you as a Division 2 team and we don't want to be. Now we have to convince ourselves we're good enough to be back there (in Division 1)."

His side maintained their 100pc record -- and a two-goal per game average -- and could have had a third goal had Neil Gallagher not saved Peter Harte's penalty five minutes into the second half. But their manager has set lofty standards and he wasn't satisfied by Tyrone's second-half play.

Tyrone led by four at half-time (1-7 to 0-6) and had a one-man advantage for the last 15 minutes after Paddy Keenan was sent off for a second yellow, yet the Wee County men actually cut a six-point gap back to four with five minutes remaining before Mark Donnelly, Cathal McCarron and Owen Mulligan put the tie beyond their reach.

Things might have been different too had goalkeeper John Devine not been in such brilliant, hair-trigger form, denying Louth on three occasions.

Derry enjoyed their first win of the campaign with a 0-14 to 0-8 home victory over Monaghan at Celtic Park.

John Brennan's team bounced backs from defeats by Galway and Tyrone.

"I just hope some of the people who were saying that some of this panel aren't good enough effectively eat their words," said Brennan.

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