Thursday, July 25, 2024
15.9 C


    Read the report of Down minor’s All-Ireland win over Westmeath at the weekend, as Paul McGovern’s second half goal helped to secure victory.

    All-Ireland Minor Football C Championship final

    Down 4-13 Westmeath 1-18

    FOR long spells it looked like it wasn’t going to be Down’s day in Saturday’s All-Ireland final.

    Soft frees conceded in defence were ruthlessly punished, and the first half goals merely seemed to serve to keep Down in touching distance rather than wrestle any real momentum their way. Ultimately, it was only after Paul McGovern’s 55th-minute penalty was netted that Down were able to fire up the jetpacks and soar clear.

    The game started in a scrappy manner with lots of turnovers and one of those changes of possession led to a second-minute Westmeath free which James McHugh pointed.

    Dead balls were the source from which many of the early scores would emanate, including Down’s first pair of points which were taken by Barra McEvoy and Liam Blayney.

    After another McHugh free for the Westmeath men, Andrew Henson got the first of the day from play, applying the finishing touch at the end of a direct attacking move.

    The James McHugh show then took over as he kicked the next four points of the game in a deadly five-minute spell which included three from frees and one curling attempt from play.

    Down were already in danger of being cut adrift but danger was present for Westmeath when a cutting attack saw Liam Blayney slip in Paul McGovern and though he was initially denied by a brilliant, full length diving stop from the Westmeath keeper the second ball fell into his grasp and no mistake was made as McGovern drilled it to the roof of the net.

    With their lead cut to two Westmeath could have been shaken but, in fact, they were quite the opposite. If anything they seemed more determined to reply and after Daire O’Brien had swung over off the inside of the post, McHugh nicked a further two points to bring his tally for the first 20 minutes to a whopping eight points.

    Paul McGovern, Barra McEvoy and Liam Blayney all added Down points but Westmeath chipped in with a couple more of their own and led by four nearing the break but a brilliant low finish from the superb McEvoy signalled a second Down goal and left just a point between the sides at the interval.

    Westmeath started the second half well and scored three of the first four points, Daire O’Brien’s strike was the pick of the bunch. Down’s retort came from Adam McCann-Gibbs.

    Down then rapidly levelled as, after two Daniel Carr shots were blocked and smothered the ball fell the way of sharpshooter McEvoy who found a pathway to the net.

    Westmeath hit back with a goal of their own and went four up thanks to an Andrew Henson point but Down reeled off another four points to level with McGovern notching two including an excellent 45, McEvoy getting one and James O’Hanlon making a scoring impact off the bench.

    Westmeath went back infront by one before Paul McGovern was fouled in the box in the 55th minute but he gathered himself up, dusted himself down and rolled his penalty calmly to the net.

    From there Down had the finishing power and Darragh Poland fisted two points over the bar before a Paul McGovern free off the ground sealed the success and brought the Seamus Heaney Cup to the Mourne County.

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