Pat Flanagan watched his Westmeath U21 team exit the Leinster championship on Wednesday evening in Mullingar.
Cadbury’s U21 Leinster Football Championship Quarter-Final
Westmeath U21 footballers crashed out of the Leinster championship last night, after defensive errors made for a frustrating end to their quarter-final clash with Wexford at Mullingar’s Lakepoint Park.
Sloppy defending gifted Wexford forward Robert Dempsey a goal in the dying moments of extra-time, leaving manager Pat Flanagan furious after the full-time whistle and the Model men through to a semi-final with Longford.
Wexford led 1-4 to 0-5 at the break, with John Heslin (who finished with 0-7) keeping the hosts in touch from frees.
After a tit-for-tat second half, Wexford were a point up with a minute remaining, when Heslin kicked a magnificent free to level matters, forcing extra-time.
Five minutes into extended play, Westmeath were dealt a massive blow when reduced to 14 men, with Kelvin Reilly (St Loman’s, Mullingar) sent-off after clashing with a Wexford player. But the dismissal didn’t faze the Lake County and a tremendous point from substitute Lorcan Dolan (Castledaly) put them a point ahead.
At the end of the first period of extra-time, the sides were level at 1-10 to 0-13, but Reilly’s dismissal didn’t appear to affect Westmeath. Frees from Heslin and Mullingar Shamrocks’ Seanie Daly left Westmeath perfectly placed and Wexford trailed by two with the final whistle approaching.
But in the last action of the match, some catastrophic defending from a Wexford set-play led to Dempsey’s clincher, signalling the premature end of yet another U21 campaign.
Wexford: R Dempsey 2-0, L Devereux (1f) and AJ Lehan (2f) 0-2 each, A Tobin 0-4 (4f), J Tubritt and C Kehoe 0-1 each. Westmeath: J Heslin 0-7 (6f), S Daly 0-4 (4f), K Reilly, M Rock, A Coffey and L Dolan 0-1 each.
M O’Toole; D Foley, T Cullen, A Cash; J Kelly, D O’Keefe, L Chin; C Kehoe, E O’Byrne; J Tubritt, C O’Brien, AJ Lehan; L Devereux, G Cullen, R Dempsey. Subs: M Cody for O’Byrne (34), A Tobin for Lehan (44), E Shiely for O’Brien (44), P Breen for Devereux (57), K Butler for Foley (e/t 15), S Corrigan for Cullen (e/t, 19).
K Maguire; J Rock, J O’Toole, G McCallon; K Daly, S Gilmore, P Joyce; J Heslin, T English; K Reilly, S Daly, P Holloway; J Gonoud, D McCormack, A Coffey. Subs: M Rock for Gonoud (inj., 47), D Whelan for Joyce (49), L Dolan for McCormack (56).
Referee: F Barry (Kildare).