Resounding start to championship by Westmeath U21 hurlers
The Lake County's U21 hurlers threw Westmeath GAA's flagging 2014 a lifeline in Cusack Park last night, when they gave their Carlow counterparts a solid thrashing in the Bord Gáis Energy Leinster U21 hurling championship.
Time and again, under-fire Westmeath manager Brian Hanley has insisted that it's all about rebuilding, and if last night's 3-19 to 0-10 win is anything to go by, the foundations are in place.
Westmeath's experience was evident in bucketfuls, with the entire starting XV blooded by Hanley at senior level in some shape or form this year. Many of them are fixtures in the senior setup, and it showed.
The hosts led 2-5 to 0-7 at the break after Robbie Greville and David Lynch raised green flags, and they stretched their lead to eight points within the opening five minutes of the second half.
With Liam Varley and Tommy Doyle bossing proceedings at the back, Carlow simply never got a look-in.
Castletown-Geoghegan's Niall O'Brien, who finished the game with eight points, was bang on form, and a third goal - a second for Robbie Greville - ensured that Westmeath had 18 points to spare at the final whistle.
While Carlow may be at another level to Westmeath in the senior reckoning, that they were so easily cast aside by Westmeath bodes well for the future.
The real test for Brian Hanley's troops will be in three week's time, when they face Dublin in the quarter-finals. Either Wexford or Offaly await the winners of that tie in the semis.
A strong Wexford side - who nearly came a cropper against Westmeath at U21 level last year - stunned Kilkenny last night, outclassing the Cats by 10 points.
For a full report, see next Tuesday's Westmeath Examiner.
Kieran Glennon; Brendan Doyle, Tommy Doyle, Liam Varley; Gary Greville (0-1, free), Tommy Gallagher (0-1), Mick Heeney (0-1); David Fennell, David Lynch (1-2); Robbie Greville (2-1), Aonghus Clarke (0-1), Joey Boyle (0-1); Emmett Corrigan, David Higgins, Niall O’Brien (0-8, three frees). Subs: Cathal Scally (0-3) for Corrigan (h/t), Neal Kirby for Higgins (48), Alan Clune for Fennell (49), Sean Quinn for Lynch (57), Eoin Quinn for Varley (60).