Westmeath fall short against Mayo despite late rally

Laura Walsh battles Sarah Tierney during Westmeath’s defeat to Mayo at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Laura Walsh battles Sarah Tierney during Westmeath’s defeat to Mayo at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park in Longford. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Westmeath produced a determined display but still suffered a 2-10 to 1-11 All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-final defeat to Mayo at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday.

It has been an encouraging campaign for Westmeath, who caused Mayo problems throughout an entertaining encounter. Mayo piled on the pressure 26 minutes into the game when a Cora Staunton shot rebounded back off the cross-bar and into the path of the oncoming Doireann Hughes who finished accordingly. But that did not deter Westmeath, who fought back with scores of their own to go in at the half-time whistle trailing by just two points at 1-3 to 0-4.

Westmeath levelled the game just seven short minutes into the second half, but were punished soon after by a stunning 14-metre free from the impressive Staunton that rifled into the back of the net. The goal shook Westmeath and inspired Mayo in equal measures, with points from Aileen Gilroy, Sarah Rowe, and three more from Staunton putting some breathing space between the teams.

Mayo appeared to be coasting at this stage, but a dramatic late goal from Johanna Maher cut the deficit to just one point and threw the game wide open in the dying minutes. It was a brilliant individual insurance point from Niamh Kelly that eventually broke Westmeath hearts and sent Mayo into their first semi-final in seven years.

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