Allianz Football League Division 3 – Westmeath 2-12 Tipperary 2-9

Greville goal ends Westmeath wait

Tipperary 2-9 Westmeath 2-12

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 28, 2011

WESTMEATH finally claimed an Allianz NFL victory, at the 17th time of asking, with a three-point win over Tipperary at Semple Stadium yesterday. The Lake County had not tasted a league victory since the 2008 Division 2 decider against Dublin and Pat Flanagan’s charges did it the hard way too, coming from five points down to secure this win with a last minute goal from Paul Greville. Tipp led 2-9 to 0-10 after 56 minutes and appeared on course for a second win from three outings. But Westmeath clawed their way back when Tipp goalscorer George Hannigan turned villain with a foul on visiting corner-back John Gaffey. David Glennon slotted home the penalty before further points from Westmeath’s Francis Boyle and Glennon tied the scores at 1-12 to 2-9. And in the 69th minute, Westmeath claimed victory when subs Denis Glennon and Conor Lynam set up Greville for a simple finish.

Goalkeeper Gary Connaughton also deserves a huge slice of credit for keeping Tipp at bay. He did concede a 22nd minute penalty for a foul on Barry Grogan, which the Tipp forward scored from, but he denied Brian Jones with a flying save in the first half. And five minutes after the restart, Connaughton did well to keep out Timmy Dalton. At half-time, the sides were level at 0-6 to 1-3.

Scorers for Tipperary: B Grogan 1-5 (1-0 pen, 3f, 1 45), G Hannigan 1-0, T Dalton, P Austin, B Fox & B Mulvihill 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: P Greville 1-3 (0-2f), David Glennon 1-1 (1-0 pen), D Dolan 0-3 (2f), F Wilson 0-2, F Boyle, S Quinn & D Corroon 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; C McDonald, P Codd, A Morrissey; C Aylward, L Egan, N Curran; S Grogan, B Jones; B Fox, G Hannigan, B Mulvihill; T Dalton, P Austin, B Grogan.

Subs: C Sweeney for Dalton (42), C McGrath for Codd (55), P Acheson for Mulvihill (57), B Coen for Hannigan (63).

WESTMEATH: G Connaughton; F Boyle, K Gavin, J Gaffey; M Curley, A Finnan, D Harte; D Duffy, B Murtagh; F Wilson, D Corroon, S Quinn; D Dolan, David Glennon, P Greville.

Subs: G Egan for Quinn (46), P Sharry for Wilson (46), Denis Glennon for Dolan (50), C Lynam for Murtagh (56), K Martin for Finnan (65).

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry)


Greville goal ends long wait for a National League win

by Kieran Galvin for the Westmeath Independent

Tipperary 2-9 Westmeath 2-12

One of the most unwanted sequences in Irish sport came to an end in Thurles last Sunday as Westmeath claimed their first Allianz Football League victory since 2008. A late goal by Paul Greville secured Westmeath’s first league win in 17 games, their last victory in this competition coming in the 2008 Division 2 final against Dublin. It looked like being another day of woe for Westmeath when Tipperary went 2-9 to 0-10 ahead with 14 minutes left. However, David Glennon’s goal from a penalty threw Westmeath a lifeline and the visitors drew level in the 67th minute. The game was still delicately poised but Westmeath now had the momentum and Greville struck for that all-important goal in the 69th minute.

The contribution of Westmeath’s substitutes played a key role in this overdue victory. Denis Glennon and Conor Lynam combined to set up Greville for the winning goal, while U-21 star Ger Egan – the first sub introduced by Pat Flanagan – made a huge impact after he entered the fray in the 46th minute. This was a very welcome and morale-boosting victory for Westmeath, but it was undoubtedly one that was snatched from the jaws of defeat. The Munster men were left ruing their failure to take advantage of a winning position and their total of ten wides (compared to Westmeath’s two) proved very costly indeed.

Tipperary’s decision to take off full-back Paddy Codd with 15 minutes to go also proved highly significant. Codd, who was on a yellow card, had been a commanding figure in the Tipp defence and, following his departure, Westmeath began to find gaps with far greater ease. With three home games still to come, Westmeath still harbour hopes of promotion to Division 2, but they will need to show major improvement in their performances to achieve this goal. In the opening half, the players occupying the central positions in the Westmeath attack – centre-forward Denis Corroon and full-forward David Glennon – were unable to make any impact on the game.

Glennon improved in the second half (as he did in the last outing against Cavan), while Corroon benefited from a later switch to midfield. Indeed, midfield remains a huge problem area for Westmeath, with Brendan Murtagh struggling last Sunday beside the returning David Duffy. While Westmeath finally ended their wait for a league win last weekend, few people will be able to claim they were there to witness it. With an official attendance of 378, Semple Stadium was a cavernous place to be on Sunday.

Backed by the fairly stiff wind in the first half, Westmeath started well and were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the 11th minute. Yet it was Tipperary who opened the scoring with a great free into the breeze by Barry Grogan from 45 metres. A similarly well-struck kick by Dessie Dolan, from a ’45’, levelled the scores in the fifth minute. Shortly afterwards, Michael Curley’s delivery from a lineball was caught well by Paul Greville, who turned and fired Westmeath into the lead. Then a move started by the impressive Francis Boyle led to a fine point by wing-forward Fergal Wilson. Tipperary failed to take advantage after Aidan Finnan gave the ball away, and then the lively Dessie Dolan landed a wonderful point (11th minute). That score came after a superb crossfield pass by Brendan Murtagh but, unfortunately for The Downs player, this was one of his few positive contributions on the day.

On 18 minutes, Tipp midfielder Brian Jones was unlucky not to be awarded a free-in, before his shot was deflected out for a fruitless ’45’. A few minutes later, Philip Austin was at the heart of a flowing Tipp move which led to point for Timmy Dalton. Then a well placed long ball by midfielder Seamus Grogan looked like setting up a goal chance for his brother Barry, who was unceremoniously felled by the advancing Gary Connaughton and referee Padraig O’Sullivan awarded a penalty. Barry dusted himself down and dispatched the spotkick to the net, giving Tipp the lead. A foul by Paddy Codd on Dessie Dolan gave Paul Greville an easy chance to draw Westmeath level in the 26th minute. There were plenty of basic errors by both sides in the first half, but Tipperary’s running game was now beginning to flow and Philip Austin should have done better after a well-worked move. Dessie Dolan edged Westmeath ahead with a pointed free in the 31st minute. In first-half injury-time, Grogan levelled matters with another fine kick against the wind, leaving the score 1-3 to 0-6 at half-time.

Within 30 seconds of the resumption, Westmeath went back in front. David Duffy and David Glennon linked up well and Fergal Wilson fisted the ball over via the crossbar, before Simon Quinn put Westmeath 0-8 to 1-3 ahead. A poor pass out of defence by full-back Kieran Gavin then led to a point for Philip Austin. Moments later, Gary Connaughton had to be alert to deny Timmy Dalton, at the expense of a ’45’, which was pointed by Barry Grogan (41st minute). Brian Jones wasted a chance after another necklace of passes had created the opening, but Tipp then went two points clear with scores from Grogan (free) and wing-forward Brian Fox.

The Lake County now needed to respond but they soon contrived to spurn a goal chance. A superb pass by Paul Greville found an unmarked Ger Egan, who passed across to Denis Corroon, but the latter was unable to make decent contact with the ball and the Tipp defence scrambled the ball away. Denis Glennon was introduced as a substitute in the 50th minute, as Dessie Dolan was taken off with a groin strain. Ger Egan earned a free-in which Greville pointed but a 51st-minute goal by Tipperary left Westmeath facing an uphill task. The goal came after Westmeath defender John Gaffey was unable to hold Barry Grogan’s high ball in and George Hannigan gleefully fired the ball to the net with a clinical finish. Brian Mulvihill added a point to leave Westmeath trailing by five (2-8 to 0-9).

Westmeath wing-backs Doran Harte and Michael Curley then did well to set up a point for Denis Corroon, but a fine point by Barry Grogan restored Tipp’s five-point lead. Substitutes and Tyrrellspass club-mates Ger Egan and Denis Glennon combined to good effect and a pass inside from Glennon found the unlikely figure of corner-back John Gaffey inside the large ‘square’. Gaffey was fouled and David Glennon’s resulting penalty was well struck and gave Paul Fitzgerald no chance (59th minute). Tipperary manager John Evans was then convinced that wing-back Christopher Aylward’s shot which was waved wide was, in fact, a ‘point’.

It looked a very close call but it was Westmeath who got the benefit of the doubt. In the 66th minute, Westmeath corner-forward Francis Boyle surged forward and got on the end of a move involving Ger Egan and Conor Lynam; the Killucan man dinked the ball over the bar with a goal possibly on his mind. Denis Glennon then set up his brother David for the equaliser. Denis Glennon was also a central figure in Paul Greville’s 69th minute goal winning goal. Glennon exploited gaps in the Tipp defence and then Conor Lynam passed the ball across to an unmarked Greville, who netted from close range. The men from the Premier County tried to force a late equalising goal but they were unable to get through a packed Westmeath rearguard. The final whistle was greeted with relief by the Westmeath camp, as a monkey was finally lifted from their backs.

Scorers- Westmeath: P Greville 1-3 (0-2f); David Glennon 1-1 (1-0pen); D Dolan 0-3 (0-1 ’45’, 1f); F Wilson 0-2; S Quinn, D Corroon, F Boyle 0-1 each. Tipperary: B Grogan 1-5 (1-0pen, 0-1 ’45’, 3f); G Hannigan 1-0; T Dalton, B Mulvihill, B Fox, P Austin 0-1 each.

Westmeath: Gary Connaughton; Francis Boyle, Kieran Gavin, John Gaffey; Michael Curley, Aidan Finnan, Doran Harte; David Duffy, Brendan Murtagh; Fergal Wilson, Denis Corroon, Simon Quinn; Paul Greville, David Glennon, Dessie Dolan.

Subs: Ger Egan for Quinn (46 mins); Paul Sharry for Wilson (46); Denis Glennon for Dolan (inj., 50); Conor Lynam for Murtagh (56); Kieran Martin for Finnan (65).

Tipperary: Paul Fitzgerald; Ciarán McDonald, Paddy Codd, Andrew Morrissey; Christopher Aylward, Lorcan Egan, Niall Curran; Seamus Grogan, Brian Jones; Brian Fox, George Hannigan, Brian Mulvihill; Timmy Dalton, Philip Austin, Barry Grogan.

Subs: Conor Sweeney for Dalton (41 mins); Ciaran McGrath for Codd (55); Peter Acheson for Mulvihill (58); Brian Coen for Hannigan (63).

Yellow cards: Westmeath 3 (G Connaughton, F Boyle, F Wilson). Tipperary 2 (P Codd, P Acheson).

Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)