Hurlers still waiting for first league win

National Hurling League  Division 2A Westmeath …………………….. 3-19 Roscommon ……………………. 1-13 Tommy Connolly Westmeath in Mullingar was always going to be a tough assignment for Roscommon’s hurlers and so it proved on the day last Saturday. Normally a score of 1-13 would be laudable enough, but not if the opposition scores 12 points more.   Behind by 3-11 to 0-6 at half-time, it seemed like a lost cause for the Rossies but they rallied well in the second half and they actually outscored the home side by 1-7 to 0-8 in the second 35 minutes.   The play was very even for the fiirst 12 minutes with the score at that stage four points each. For Roscommon, Shane Sweeney had pointed two frees, with Gerry Fallon getting the other two from a ’65 and from play. Westmeath’s points came from Niall Kilcoyne, Brian Smyth, Enda Loughlin and a Brendan Murtagh free.   However in the 13th minute, a Westmeath goal set them on their way. A mis-hit free from Brendan Murtagh was blocked and the loose ball was flicked to the Roscommon net by Niall Kilcoyne. It was an unfortunate goal to give away from a Roscommon point of view.   Westmeath then scored three points in a row to put them further ahead before Shane Sweeney’s free gave Roscommon some respite – but almost immediately Niall Kilcoyne scored another Westmeath point. Gerry Fallon then scored a point from a brilliant sideline cut and that was Roscommon’s last point of the first half.   In the final five minutes of the first half Westmeath scored 2-3 to put themselves almost out of sight. Full-forward Adam Price scored a fine goal with a bullet of a shot to the corner of the net and the same player got a point from the puck-out. Then after two more Westmeath points, Price scored his second goal after he was put through by Niall Kilcoyne.   So Roscommon, 14 points down, had a mountain to climb in the second half. To be fair to them they made a heroic effort to get back into the game and they were helped by a Westmeath sending-off when forward Brian Smyth was red-carded for two bookable offences early on.   Gerry Fallon and Shane Sweeney both pointed to give Roscommon some hope but Westmeath then scored four points in a row to strengthen their position. But Roscommon kept going, and Gerry Fallon’s free was flicked to the net by Tomas Seale in the 16th minute. Roscommon had improved substantially and with Fallon, Sweeney and Seale playing better, Roscommon traded points with Westmeath.   Westmeath’s Ciaran Curley scored the final point for his side with five minutes left but Roscommon grabbed late points from Shane Sweeney, Liam Casey and Mervyn Connaughton to put a more respectable look on the scoreline.   While the margin of defeat was quite a large one, there was still a lot to generate hope for the rest of the league campaign. There are still some very important players to come back into the squad but the reality is that Roscommon need a victory or two soon if they want to maintain their Division Two status. Roscommon: David Connell; David Delaney, Mark McLoughlin, Mike Keaveney; Kenny Doolin, David Loughnane, Liam Murray; Mervyn Connaughton (0-1), Gerry Fallon (0-5); John Moran, Kevin Conneally, Liam Casey (0-1); Tomas Seale (1-1), Keith McDermott, Shane Sweeney (0-5). Subs Michael Kelly for Loughnane, Alan Creavin for Doolin, Alan Kelly for Conneally, Noel Cunniffe for M Kelly. Westmeath: Mark Briody; Greg Garvin, Paul Greville, Conor Jordan; Brian Connaughton (0-1), Darren McCormack, Dermot Curley; Philip Gilsenan, Pat Clarke (0-1); Enda Loughlin (0-1), Brendan Murtagh (0-4), Brian Smyth (0-2); Niall Kilcoyne (1-5), Adam Price (2-2), John Shaw. Subs: K Curley (0-1) for Loughlin, Paddy Dowdall (0-1) for Price, Eoin Price (0-1) for Shaw, D Faulkner for Jordan, Noel Garvin for Clarke. Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).