Noel Conaty had a fine game for Westmeath senior hurlers against Cork on Sunday in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Westmeath hurlers emerge with great credit despite defeat by Cork

Allianz National Hurling League Division 1A

Cork 2-21 Westmeath 0-21

Gerry Buckley

Westmeath’s senior hurlers emerged from Páirc Ui Chaoimh with great distinction this afternoon, Joe Fortune’s troops going down to Cork by just two goals in very pleasant conditions by the banks of the Lee.

Yes, this was a very experimental Rebel County side with only a handful of likely championship starters on duty, but this should in no way detract from a very satisfactory performance from the visitors in a contest where the seldom-wrong bookies had Cork down to win by a minimum of 18 points in the ‘spread bet’.

Ironically, it looked ominous when Shane Kingston found the net in the third minute, but Noel Conaty – who had a very fine game overall – was only beaten once more, and that was by Shane Barrett in the 26th minute. This helped Pat Ryan’s troops to a 2-11 to 0-10 interval lead.

Killian Doyle, as expected, looked very comfortable on this stage and he finished as the game’s top scorer with 0-13 (including ten frees), despite having to go off with cramp in the 61st minute, with his twin brother Ciaran replacing him. As had been the case in Ennis a few weeks ago, Jack Galvin’s sublime sideline cut in the 54th minute was one of the game’s highlights.

Westmeath can now look forward to home games against Limerick and Galway with a little less trepidation, and a likely play-off thereafter against the bottom side in the other top flight division.

Cork: Patrick Collins; Eoin Roche (0-1), Niall O’Leary, Ger Mellerick; Cormac O’Brien (0-1), Tommy O’Connell, Dáire O’Leary; Sam Quirke, Ethan Twomey (0-1); Ben Cunningham (0-1), Luke Meade, Conor Cahalane (0-3); Shane Kingston (1-7, 0-6f), Brian Hayes (0-2), Shane Barrett (1-2). Subs used: Eoin Downey for Mellerick (inj., h-t), Cathal Cormack (0-1) for D O’Leary (45), Padraig Power (0-2) for Cunningham (49), Dáire Connery for Quirke (60), Colin Walsh for Barrett (67).

Westmeath: Noel Conaty; Conor Shaw, Tommy Doyle, Darragh Egerton; Johnny Bermingham, Robbie Greville (0-1), Jack Galvin (0-2, 1s/l); Shane Clavin, Shane McGovern (0-1); Davy Glennon (0-1), Owen McCabe, Kevin Regan; Joey Boyle, Killian Doyle (0-13, 10f), Peter Clarke. Subs used: Jack Gillen for Boyle (35 to h-t, blood), Eoin Keyes for Clarke (46), Darragh Clinton (0-1, f) for Clavin (56), Adam Ennis for Shaw (inj., 60), Ciaran Doyle (0-2, 2f) for K Doyle (inj., 61), Gary Greville for Bermingham (70).

Ref: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary).