Westmeath's Jack Gillen in action. The Lake County will now focus on a massive game against Laois in the division 1A relegation play-off next weekend.

Late Galway rally adds to Westmeath's woes

Galway 4-27 Westmeath 1-12

In what was a dead rubber, with attention already focused on the relegation play-off against Laois next Saturday, Westmeath rounded off their round robin fixtures in this year's Allianz Hurling League Divsion 1A in showery conditions in TEG Cusack Park this afternoon (Sunday) with a 24-point defeat to Galway, albeit the margin undoubtedly flattered the visitors.

The Tribesmen were three points to the good in as many minutes courtesy of Cianan Fahy, Brian Concannon and Liam Collins. Westmeath lost their marquee defender Tommy Doyle after a bang of the sliotar in the head in the eighth minute, a major blow given the absence of their star forward Killian Doyle. In the latter's absence, Niall O'Brien was on free-taking duty and he had a mixed afternoon from placed balls.

Henry Shefflin's charges were 0-5 to 0-0 up before their opponents struck for a hat-trick of unanswered points from the sticks of Jack Galvin, Kevin Regan, and O'Brien (a free). Westmeath's fourth point came from Galway native Davy Glennon (whose brother Ronan lined out for the winners) and the Connacht side led by 0-10 to 0-4 when Ciaran Doyle, a twin brother of the absent Killian, did well to get in a one-handed strike for a tonic goal for the team under the tutelage of Joe Fortune (who was booked in the 25th minute).

It was 0-12 to 1-4 in Galway's favour when Concannon rifled home a great goal from a tight angle with exactly 35 minutes on the clock. With Conor Cooney bagging four points from play in the first moiety and Evan Niland converting six placed balls (including a ninth-minute '65'), Galway led by 1-14 to 1-5 at the interval.

A classy point from play by O'Brien was an encouraging start to the second half for Westmeath, but Galway were always able to pick off points when needed. Indeed, they ended up with 13 different scorers on the day. Despite the home team - with Ciaran Doyle prominent - scoring four unanswered points between the 48th and 55th minutes, Galway still led by 1-19 to 1-11 when sub Declan McLoughlin availed of one of many unforced Westmeath errors to rifle the ball past Conor Bracken in the 59th minute.

Galway scored the last 2-7 of the contest without reply from the outclassed men in the changed green and maroon jerseys. The two goals came with time almost up courtesy of Jason Flynn and Tiernan Killeen, and Gavin Lee still had time to score a last-gasp point.

Scorers - Galway: E Niland 0-11 (8f, 1'65'), C Cooney 0-5, B Concannon, D McLoughlin, J Flynn 1-1 each, T Killeen 1-0, John Cooney 0-2, C Fahy, L Collins, G Lee, TJ Brennan, P Mannion, K Cooney 0-1 each. Westmeath: C Doyle 1-4 (1f), N O'Brien 0-5 (4f), J Galvin, D Glennon, K Regan 0-1 each.

Galway: Eanna Murphy; Darren Morrissey, Daithí Burke, TJ Brennan; Padraic Mannion, Jack Fitzpatrick, Tiernan Killeen; Cianan Fahy, Ronan Glennon; John Cooney, Liam Collins, Conor Cooney; Evan Niland, Brian Concannon, Kevin Cooney. Subs used: Declan McLoughlin for Collins (46), Jason Flynn for C Cooney (54), Gavin Lee for John Cooney (63), Joseph Cooney for Glennon (63), Donal O'Shea for Concannon (65), Martin McManus for McLoughlin (blood, 70+1).

Westmeath: Conor Bracken; Gary Greville, Johnny Bermingham, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Tommy Doyle, Robbie Greville; Jack Galvin, Shane McGovern; Kevin Regan, Ciaran Doyle, Eoin Keyes; Niall O'Brien, Shane Clavin, Davy Glennon. Subs used: Darragh Egerton for T Doyle (inj., 8), Jack Gillen for O'Brien (inj., 52), Peter Clarke for Glennon (59), Mark Cunningham for McGovern (67), Cormac Boyle for Bermingham (67), Pplunkett Maxwell for Galvin (70).

Ref: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary).