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Early exit for U21 footballers

Thursday, 7th March, 2013 11:14am

Early exit for U21 footballers

Westmeath's John Rock is pursued by Wexford's Graeme Cullen.

Cadbury's U21 Leinster football championship quarter-final

Wexford......... 2-10
Westmeath..... 0-15

Westmeath's U21 footballers have crashed out of the Leinster championship, after defensive errors made for a frustrating end to their quarter-final clash with Wexford at Mullingar's Lakepoint Park last night.

Sloppy defending gifted livewire 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.

The home side bossed the opening exchanges, and with the sides level at a point each after 10 minutes, Tyrrellspass's Jamie Gonoud went close to finding the net for the Lake County.

But on 16, early signs of Westmeath's defensive frailties bore fruit for the Barrowsiders, and Dempsey was handed his first goal on a plate.

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 they were 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 sub 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 them perfectly placed, and Wexford trailed by two with the final whistle approaching.

But in the last action of the match, some poor 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 0-1each. 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).

F Barry (Kildare).

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