Brian Duignan, who scored 1-11 for Offaly in their win over Westmeath at Glenisk O'Connor Park on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Bourke goal seals Offaly victory over Westmeath

Joe McDonagh Cup Round 2

Offaly 2-23 Westmeath 1-20

Offaly hurlers got their Joe McDonagh Cup ambitions back on track with a deserved win over Westmeath in Tullamore today (Saturday).

The victory was achieved despite the shock early blow of team captain Jason Sampson being dismissed with barely 20 seconds on the clock.

In an incident-packed start to what was an entertaining game, the opening eight minutes featured Sampson's straight red card (for a challenge on Aonghus Clarke), two penalties for Offaly (one scored by Brian Duignan, the other saved by visiting netminder Noel Conaty at the expense of a '65) and a well taken Westmeath goal from David O'Reilly.

Another key moment was Westmeath defender Darragh Egerton being sent off in the 21st minute. Having received a black card which led to the second Offaly penalty, Egerton committed a needless foul near the sideline on Charlie Mitchell and the resulting yellow card ended his involvement.

Whether Westmeath would have been able to achieve a better result with an extra man for the remainder of the contest is a hypothetical argument at this stage and of little comfort to the eventual losers, who now have two defeats from two games.

There was one change to the Offaly starting team, Padraig Cantwell coming in for Adam Screeney, who did not feature at all due to an injury concern. Westmeath made two changes to their listed line-up with Aaron Craig and David Williams replacing Johnny Bermingham and Ciarán Doyle respectively.

The sides were 1-11 each at half-time, with Westmeath having played with the aid of the slight breeze. Respective freetakers Duignan (1-5 for Offaly) and Killian Doyle (0-8 from placed balls for Westmeath) did the bulk of the scoring at either end during the opening half.

Although Offaly looked the more likely winners for the majority of the second half, Joe Fortune's charges managed to draw level at 1-19 each by the 65th minute.

But points from Duignan (a free, after Westmeath coughed up possession cheaply) and influential defender Cillian Kiely, followed by a 69th-minute goal from Dan Bourke, put Offaly firmly on the road to victory as Johnny Kelly's men bounced back from their loss to Laois.

In total, Ballinamere player Duignan contributed 1-11 to Offaly's tally but he was ably supported by the likes of Charlie Mitchell and Eimhin Kelly.

With the powerful Kiely chipping in with three points from play and fellow defender Ben Conneely hardly putting a foot wrong, Offaly had plenty of influential figures on the day.

In contrast, Westmeath's Doyle, who finished with a tally of 0-15, lacked scoring support. The Raharney player tried for a goal from two frees around the 20-metre line near the end, but both efforts were blocked as a consolation goal proved elusive.

Both sides suffered injury blows on the day, with Offaly duo Sam Bourke and David Nally forced off, and Westmeath's Robbie Greville (quite early in the contest) and Cormac Boyle suffering a similar fate.

Scorers - Offaly: B Duignan 1-11 (1-0pen, 8f, 1 '65); D Bourke 1-0; C Kiely 0-3; K Sampson, C Mitchell, E Kelly 0-2 each; B Conneely, C King, L Fox 0-1 each. Westmeath: K Doyle 0-15 (11f, 1 '65); D O'Reilly 1-1; R Greville, E Keyes, D Williams, D Glennon 0-1 each.

Offaly: Mark Troy; Cathal King; Ciaran Burke, Padraig Cantwell; Ben Conneely; Cillian Kiely, Sam Bourke; Jason Sampson (captain), David King; Killian Sampson, Brian Duignan, David Nally; Dan Bourke, Charlie Mitchell, Eimhin Kelly. Subs used: Jack Clancy for S Bourke (injured, 35 mins); Donal Shirley for Cantwell (h-t); Oisín Kelly for Nally (inj., 47); Leon Fox for Clancy (66).

Westmeath: Noel Conaty; Kevin Regan, Tommy Doyle, Darragh Egerton; Robbie Greville, Aonghus Clarke, Aaron Craig; Cormac Boyle, Charlie McCormack; Joey Boyle, Killian Doyle (captain), Niall Mitchell; David O'Reilly, Eoin Keyes, David Williams. Subs used: Peter Clarke for Greville (injured, 19 mins); Conor Gaffney for McCormack (h-t); Owen McCabe for Keyes (51); Davy Glennon for C Boyle (inj, 55); Ciarán Doyle for Williams (66).

Referee: Brian Keon (Galway).