The Westmeath U16 camogie team that played Down in Raharney on Sunday.

Down goals defeat Westmeath in Raharney rain

Down 4-9, Westmeath 1-5

Westmeath played well in the pouring rain in Raharney GAA last Sunday but were ultimately second-best on the scoreboard against a more robust Down side in the All-Ireland U16 B championship.

Having come into the second round off the back of defeat to Carlow, Teresa Lynch was looking for positives in all areas from her group. While the result may not have gone their way, many of the youthful side will have gained experience from the outing. The Ulster side weathered the early Westmeath efforts before taking control in the scoring zones. In contrast, the home side just could not make the final pass stick enough to hit those crucial scores.

The opening down point from Alannah Kay came at the end of a good spell for Westmeath but which yielded no score. Things got a little worse (both in weather and scoring) as this point was followed by a goal minutes later from Laura McEvoy. A fine free from joint-captain Ella Murtagh settled matters just on the quarter-hour. Emma Wiseman was stellar early on alongside her defensive teammates. Goalkeeper Laura Doyle was, despite the four Down goals, a great asset overall with her clearances and reactions.

Things improved further when Róisín Connaughton added a free to reduce the deficit to 1-1 to 0-2. Down took control for a while adding 1-3, including a goal from Caitlín Fay. Not to be outdone, Connaughton powered through and blasted home herself leaving it 2-4 to 1-2 to Down at the interval.

Unfortunately for the maroon jerseys, that was as close as they would come to the victorious side. Therese Cowan (1 free, 1 45’) kept things motoring before McEvoy’s second goal instantly cancelled out the lovely point from Ruth Hynes at the other end. The ball was not sticking with the Westmeath forwards as Down used their extra defender very well. Dáire O’Shea, Kay, and Grace Kelly (goal) ended things as a contest with ten minutes to go. Ahead 4-8 to 1-3, both sides introduced a raft of replacements for game minutes. One of those was enforced for the locals as Ellen Mulvaney suffered a dislocated finger in a challenge.

The final minutes belonged to Westmeath and Ruth Hynes (teed up by Claire Loughrey) and Connaughton both pucked over points to finish proceedings. Although the scoreline does suggest one-way traffic, the reality was much different. With conditions as they were (despite the excellent surface), the game play of running from Down suited them a little more.

Scorers - Down: L McEvoy 2-0, G Kelly 1-1, C Fay 1-0, T Cowan 0-3 (2 frees, 1 45’), D O’Shea, A Kay 0-2 each, A Gilmore 0-1.

Westmeath: R Connaughton 1-2 (1 free, 1 45’), R Hynes 0-2, E Murtagh 0-1 (free).

Teams - Down: Lydia Boyd; Anna Masterson, Erin Douglas, Caoimhe McConville; Ellie McCabe, Erin Daly, Enya McCrickard; Grace Kelly, Caoimhe Dorrian; Therese Cowan, Dáire O’Shea, Aoife Gilmore; Laura McEvoy, Caitlín Fay, Alannah Kay. Subs used: Cailin Burns for McCabe (51), Mia Brannigan for McConville (54), Álainn Henderson for Kay (58), Cliona Finnegan for McEvoy (58), Cliodhna McGrath for Fay (59), Éabha-Marie Watson for Douglas (59), Cara Croskery for Dorrian (59), Ruby Burns for Boyd (60+1).

Westmeath: Laura Doyle; Claire Loughrey, Aoife O’Connor, Rachel McDonnell; Erin O’Faoláin, Emma Wiseman, Maggie Bartley; Ellen Mulvaney, Rebecca Ward; Annabelle Hynes, Ella Murtagh, Ruth Hynes; Katie McDonnell, Éabha O’Mahoney, Róisín Connaughton. Subs used: Abbie McCawley for O’Faoláin (half-time), Lucy Kennedy for O’Mahoney (46), Kathryna Zinchenko for Mulvaney (49), Katie Muldoon for Bartley (53), Caoimhe O’Mahoney for Murtagh (58), Áine Brennan for R McDonnell (58).

Referee: Karol Collins (Galway).