13 JANUARY 2014
It took 20 minutes of extra-time to settle an absorbing clash at Cusack Park, Mullingar as DIT edged out an experimental Westmeath outfit.
With a quarter-final against Kilkenny the reward, both sides showed plenty of hunger in a tit-for-tat battle in wet and windy conditions.
Corner-forward Niall McMorrow impressed for DIT early on, but goals from Westmeath duo Alan McGrath and Robbie Greville, as well as frees from Noel Conaty, helped the hosts to a 2-5 to 1-7 lead at the break.
Greville fired another goal nine minutes into the second half, and with DIT’s forwards in erratic form from open play, a win for Brian Hanley’s charges looked on the cards.
However, the hosts’ optimism was almost shattered when two green flags from Jack Hobbs, followed by terrific points from Lar Prendergast and Tipperary star Kieran Bergin, left it 3-12 to 3-7 in favour of the students.
But the Lake County battled back into contention, with a Gary Greville goal and late points from Aonghus Clarke and Conaty forcing extra-time (3-12 to 4-9) in a thrilling turn of events.
In extra-time, scores from Conaty and McGrath kept Westmeath in the reckoning and some wasteful play from DIT — who clocked up 18 wides over the 90 minutes — made for a tense denouement.
But four points from McMorrow, crowned by an insurance score from Liam Óg McGovern, ensured that the students progressed.
Scorers — DIT: N McMorrow 0-9 (7fs), J Hobbs 2-1, S McGrath 1-0, L Óg McGovern, K Bergin 0-2 each, L Prendergast, T Connolly, M Moloney (’65’) 0-1 each. Westmeath: R Greville 2-1, N Conaty 0-6 (6fs), A McGrath 1-1, G Greville 1-0, E Price (f), A Clarke, C Curley, P Reilly 0-1 each.
DIT — F McGarry; M O’Donoghue, G McManus, L Prendergast; J Henderson, D Horan, S Morris; K Bergin, T Connolly; M Moloney, S McGrath, L Óg McGovern; J Hobbs, L Rushe, N McMorrow. Subs: W Deveraux for Horan (18), P McDonagh for McGrath (47), J McManus for Morris (58), A Ryan for McManus (15, e-t).
Westmeath — P Collins; P Fennell, T Doyle, L Varley; G Greville, T Gallagher, P Reilly; E Price, P Gilsenan; R Greville, A Clarke, C Curley; N Conaty, A McGrath, D Gavin. Subs: M Heeney for Gavin (15, inj.), K Duncan for Fennell (42, inj), D McDermott for Gilsenan (49), C Glennon for Heeney (65).
Ref — T Carroll (Offaly).