Dublin 0-22 Westmeath 0-11: Dessie Farrell’s Dubs ease through in Leinster

Dublin are through to the Leinster Championship semi-final, after a 0-22 to 0-11 win over Westmeath.

It is not likely Dessie Farrell learned a lot from his first championship game at the helm. Within minutes of throw-in, the gulf between the sides was clear.

The Na Fianna club man did hand starting jerseys to Tom Lahiff (a debutant), Robert McDaid and Seán Bugler, who have not been mainstays of the team in the championship over recent years.

But their mettle was not tested, in a routine victory.

Dean Rock and Ciarán Kilkenny led the way in the early stages, as the Dubs established an early lead. Fleeting flashes of brilliance from John Heslin were the highlights from a Westmeath perspective, while Sam Duncan sent over a beauty of a score from a tight angle just before half-time.

But over the course of the opening 35 minutes, Dublin overwhelmed their opponents. They put the squeeze on their opponents’ kick-outs, and support runners left the Lake County’s defence chasing shadows.

The game was over as a contest at the break, with Dublin lead 0-15 to 0-6.

The second period was a mere procession. Dublin ran their bench, with substitutes looking to catch the eye ahead of the semi-final.

It was a tighter affair after the break, as the Dubs were limited to just seven points. But their lead was never in danger, as they kept things tight for remainder of the contest.

One worry on an otherwise satisfactory evening was the departure of Eoin Murchan, who was forced ashore injured.

The Sky Blues’ dominance in the eastern province continues, as they chase a 10th consecutive Delaney Cup. Indeed, since 2013 they have won all bar one of the Leinster Championship games by double digits.

Bigger tests lie ahead this season if they are to retain the Sam Maguire Cup. But on the merits of the 70 minutes on show, it was a job well done.

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; Eoin Murchan (0-1), Tom Lahiff, Michael Fitzsimons; John Small, Jonny Cooper (0-1), Robert McDaid (0-1); Brian Fenton, James McCarthy (0-1); Seán Bugler (0-2), Ciarán Kilkenny (0-5), Niall Scully (0-1); Paddy Small (0-2), Con O’Callaghan (0-1), Dean Rock (0-7 – 0-6 frees).

Subs: Brian Howard for Seán Bugler, Cormac Costello for Paddy Small, David Byrne for Michael Fitzsimons, Aaron Byrne for Niall Scully, Eric Lowndes for Eoin Murchan.

Westmeath: Jason Daly; Jack Smith, Kevin Maguire, Boidu Sayeh; Jamie Gonoud, Ronan Wallace, James Dolan; Ray Connellan (0-2), Sam Duncan (0-1); David Lynch, Ronan O’Toole (0-1), Killian Daly; Luke Loughlin (0-2), John Heslin (0-2 – 0-1 free), Kieran Martin (0-3 – 0-1 free, 0-1 mark).

Subs: Conor Slevin for Killian Daly, Callum McCormack for David Lynch, Lorcan Dolan for Kieran Martin, Anthony McGivney for Luke Loughlin, Brandon Kelly for Ronan O’Toole.

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