Dublin ease home to overcome Westmeath
Dublin produced a sporadically impressive performance when getting the better of a disappointing Westmeath by 1-17 to 1-8 in their Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Hurling Championship semi-final at Cusack Park last Saturday afternoon.
The visitors' title ambitions looked to be in threat as they led by just two points at half-time, having played with the benefit of a strong breeze, but they assumed complete control of affairs in the second-half to complete a well-deserved nine point success.
The manner in which they seized the initiative upon the restart bore similarities with their quarter-final victory over Offaly and highlighted the composure inherent within the panel as they saw out the game in relative comfort.
Certainly, their ability to curb the threat of key Westmeath attackers Killian Doyle and Ciaran Doyle reflected well on the collective efforts of the Dublin defence with Eoin Foley, Conor Ryan and Paddy Smyth enjoying exceptional individual displays.
Mark Maguire proved the pick of the Dublin attack as he worked tirelessly around the middle third in addition to picking off three excellent first-half points.
His contribution was much-needed as the Dubs struggled for accuracy initially despite building an early lead through Gavin King, Conor Burke and Maguire.
Despite pushing further clear through Matthew Oliver and Maguire, Dublin were undermined by the concession of a goal to Niall Mitchell in the 14th minute as they failed to deal adequately with a Ciaran Doyle free.
With their shooting becoming increasingly erratic, Dublin saw their lead trimmed further following added points by Doyle and James Goonery as the sides entered the break at 0-9 to 1-4.
Dublin's superiority after the break manifested itself in points by Eoghan Dunne and Donal Burke and the latter netted in the 45th minute to leave daylight between the sides with Westmeath's chances sunk by the unnecessary dismissal of corner-forward Paddy Doody seven minutes from time.
Scorers: Dublin: D Burke 1-5 (0-4f), M Oliver (0-3f), M Maguire 0-3 each, C Burke, G King (0-1f), E Conroy, E Dunne, A Mellett, C Ryan 0-1 each. Westmeath: N Mitchell 1-1 (0-f), C Doyle 0-4(0-4f), K Doyle 0-2, J Goonery 0-1.
Dublin: E Skelly; C Hendricken, C Brady, C Ryan; E Foley, P Smyth, S Hickey; M Oliver, F Whitely; E Conroy, M Maguire, D Burke; A Considine, C Burke, G King. Subs: E Dunne for King (half-time), C Sammon for Oliver (39), D Butler for Hickey (41), A Mellett for C Burke (50), C Dowling for Maguire (54),
Westmeath: A McHugh; D Qamar, K Regan, S Lancaster; J Bermingham, P Scally, D Egerton; J Rabbitte, J O'Brien; K Doyle, C Doyle, N Mitchell; J Goonery, J McCarthy, P Doody. Subs: C Kane for McCarthy (49), F Dowd for Rabbitte (58),
Referee: Michael O'Sullivan (Kilkenny)