The Westerns enjoyed a comfortable enough start to their Anglo Printers Junior Football Championship season on Friday evening as they beat Wolfe Tones 3-12 to 0-09 in Pairc Ui Taibh, with Louth man Tommy Durnin notching 1-07 for his evening’s work in the victory.
In the second Group 4 game of a double header in Tallanstown, the Westerns began as clear favourites against the Division 5 side. Whilst they ran out 12 point winners by the end of the evening, the Drogheda side were wasteful going forward in the first half and could have gone in at the break level, or even in front.
As it was, the side from Reaghstown have overcome the hurdle they were routinely expected to. The sides met in the group stages of last year’s JFC – with the Tones giving the Westerns a fright before the Reaghstown men emerged five point victors to set up a quarter-final clash with Sean McDermotts.
The fright was all too real on Friday too, especially in the first half. Jordan Duffy edged the Tones ahead before Durnin got the Westerns first score from a free. Barry Reilly then tuned Stephen Boylen and slotted over a nice score.
Cathal O’Hanlon was boosted before the match with John Murray delcaring himself fit and ready to play. He took up a position in the middle of the park and was combative throughout.
The following period saw the men in blue and yellow carve out a succession of scoring chances, only to blaze wild and wide for the most part. That profligacy was capitalised on when Durnin got on the end of a move to help the ball into an empty net for 1-02 to 0-02.
Trevor Baylon was next to add his name to the scoresheet. He ran unopposed through the back line and split the posts. The best score of the half came courtesy of Conor Kerr. Ciaran Scriven, Johnnie Lynch and Mick Martin were all involved before Kerr put over. He could, and perhaps should, have gone for goal.
It wouldn’t duly matter. The Tones notched their third point but it was more an exception than a rule. Soon after, Kerr hit the net himself. He pounced on an error in front of goal and cooly slotted the ball low past goalkeeper Chris Eustace.
Just before half time, Durnin’s 45 just cleared the bar to leave it 2-04 to 0-04.
Terence Sweeney and Durnin, again from a free, extended the lead upon the resumption before Gideon Lugoye got one in return. Eoghan O’Shea made it a two goal game after good pressure on the ball around the Westerns 22.
The game’s sole inter-county player kicked a free out of his hands and then repeated the trick from close range after brother Anthony was fouled. Wolfe Tones contended that his effort was wide but referee Peter Hoey wasn’t for changing his mind.
Durnin then scored his only point of the game from open play after the ball was worked from the left. That was that. Reilly pointed for the game Wolfe Tones, but Durnin only replied with another free.
The Westerns made a host of substitutions late on and they had an impact too. Ciaran Campbell pointed before he produced an emphatic finish to beat Eustace and put the gloss on a big win.
There was even time for Niall Moynagh and Lugoye to exchange points in eight minutes of added on time, due to a sickening clash of heads between two Tones men.
WESTERNS GFC: Peter Shiels, Mick Martin, James Ward, PJ Marron, Colin Martin, Stephen Boylan, Sean McGuinness, Tommy Durnin (1-07), John Murray, Ciaran Scriven, Conor Kerr (1-01), Terence Sweeney (0-01), Trevor Baylon (0-01), Anthony Durnin, Johnnie Lynch.
Subs: Andy Kerr for Terence Sweeney, Ciaran Campbell (1-01) for Ciaran Scriven, Shane Matthews for Mick Martin, Patrick Kerley for Johnie Lych, Gerry Curtis for Trevor Baylon, Niall Moynagh (0-01) for John Murray