Castletown-Geoghegan 0-22 Clonkill 1-14
Castletown-Geoghegan regained the Westmeath senior hurling title after a five-year wait, the side managed by former Westmeath football star Alan Mangan full value for their five-point win against Clonkill.
Having lost the last three county finals, Castletown-Geoghegan were not lacking in motivation and they looked the sharper and hungrier team throughout the first half in ideal conditions in Mullingar.
Westmeath star Niall O'Brien was in top form in the first half-hour, and he contributed two of their opening four points, going on to score seven in total by half-time.
Castletown led by 0-04 to 0-02 when Adam Loughlin Stones missed a glorious chance to put Clonkill ahead in the seventh minute, but his weak shot from close range was easily saved by Kieran Glennon.
Castletown’s lead had risen to seven points (0-12 to 0-06) by the 26th minute, three of their scores coming from midfielder Mick Heeney.
The Clonkill mentors were incensed that another Westmeath regular Niall Mitchell – who was very tightly marked throughout – was not awarded a free some three minutes later, allowing Jack Gallagher to open his account at the other end.
Better known as a footballer, Luke Loughlin scored his third point from play on the half-hour mark. A point exchange between Anthony Price (a free) and Gallagher left the scoreboard at the interval reading: Castletown-Geoghegan 0-14 Clonkill 0-08.
Clonkill ended up the game with 15 wides (compared with the winners’ seven) and their wastefulness proved very costly against a more economical side in black and amber.
Their youthful full-forward David O’Reilly had a great second half, adding three points from play to one scored in the first moiety, and he won the official man of the match award after the game.
The introduction of veterans Paddy Dowdall in defence and Brendan Murtagh in attack bolstered Clonkill but, with Mitchell getting very little space in and around the parallelogram, they never threatened to bridge the gap.
The Castletown subs all did well, and points from two of them, Conor Murphy and Morgan Gavigan, helped to steady the ship. Murtagh, now 40 years old, showed that class is permanent by rifling a 30-metre free to the net in the fourth minute of added-time. However, it was a case of too little, too late for Pat O’Toole’s well-beaten team.
Castletown-Geoghegan: K Glennon; N McKenna, J Bermingham, A Glennon; C Kane (0-01), L Varley, D Lynch; P Maxwell, M Heeney (0-03); P Clarke (0-01), A Clarke (0-01), S Clavin; N O’Brien (0-08, 0-05 frees), D O’Reilly (0-04), J Gallagher (0-02).
Subs: C Murphy (0-01) for Clavin (36), B Carey for Gallagher (47), J Clarke for Maxwell (49), E Quinn for A Glennon (53), M Gavigan (0-01) for P Clarke (55).
Clonkill: A Mitchell; C Nolan, A McGrath, M McGrath; J Murtagh, P Scally, D Egerton; A Shaw (0-01), S Power; A Price (0-07, 0-06 frees), N Dowdall, A Loughlin Stones; J Smyth, N Mitchell (0-01), L Loughlin (0-04).
Subs: P Dowdall for M McGrath (h-t), L Moran for Murtagh (43), B Murtagh (1-00, free) for Loughlin Stones (45), M Glynn (0-01) for Shaw (46), M Heffernan for N Dowdall (60+2).
Ref: C Flynn (St Brigid’s)