Minor hurlers beaten in Leinster semi-final

Westmeath’s thrilling Leinster minor hurling championship adventure ended with a 1-17 to 1-8 semi-final defeat against Dublin at Mullingar last Saturday.

Dublin started brightly racing into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead following 13 minutes as Westmeath, who shocked Wexford in the previous round, were put under significant pressure.

Michael Oliver rifled over three early frees for the visitors, who seized the initiative, but Killian Doyle failed to convert a goal chance for the determined underdogs.

But as the interval approached Niall Mitchell grabbed a goal for Westmeath as Dublin’s half-time lead was 0-9 to 1-4.

Westmeath, who played into the teeth of a strong breeze in the opening period, were well beaten after the restart as Dublin enjoyed a productive third quarter.

Substitute Eoghan Dunne made an instant impact, while Donal Burke flicked an opportunistic goal as Westmeath’s spirited resistance was shrugged off.

Westmeath didn’t deal with a long Conor Burke delivery and Donal Burke reacted smartly to rattle the Midlanders’ net.

That was a crucial 45th-minute score from which Westmeath never recovered as a decent Dublin outfit advanced to the provincial decider.

Dublin: E Skelly; C Hendricken, C Brady, C Ryan (0-1 ); E Foley, P Smyth, S Hickey; M Oliver (0-4, 4 fs ), D Burke (1-5, 4fs ); F Whitely, M Maguire (0-3 ), C Burke (0-1 ); A Considine, E Conroy (0-1 ), G King. Subs: E Dunne (0-1 ) for King (31 mins ), C Sammon for Oliver (38 mins ), D Butler for Hickey (40 mins ), A Mellett (0-1 ) for Burke (50 mins ), C Dowling for Maguire (54 mins ).

Westmeath: A McHugh; D Qamar, K Regan, S Lancaster; D Egerton, P Scally, J Bermingham; J Rabbitte, J O’Brien; K Doyle (0-2 ), C Doyle (0-4, 4fs ), N Mitchell (1-1, 1f ); P Doody, J McCarthy, J Goonery (0-1 ). Subs: C Kane for McCarthy (50 mins ), F Dowd for Rabbitte (59 mins ).

Referee: M O’Sullivan (Kilkenny ).

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