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Kieran Kingston Cork just had enough to edge out Westmeath in Mullingar in a 3-12 to 1-14 win. The Rebels needed 2-08 from multiple all-star winner from Patrick Horgan from placed balls to record the win.
In truth as you probably know by now the conditions were horrendous for a game of hurling. Cork had the wind in the opening but they never got going in truth. Luke Meade opened the scoring inside 20 seconds with a point. Derek McNicholas had the sides level on 2 minutes. Conor Lehane registered two points, despite going off injured after them scores. Patrick Horgan knocked over four placed balls as Cork took a 0-07 to 0-01 lead after 20 minutes. However, Westmeath thundered into the game then with four points in a row. Allan Devine with two frees and one from play, Joey Boyle also getting on the scoreboard. Tim O’Mahony completed the scoring in the opening half, his delightful sideline splitting the posts to give Cork an 0-08 to 0-05 lead at the interval.
Westmeath found themselves in trouble though within 30 seconds of the restart. Patrick Horgan was fouled in the box which meant a penalty. Horgan stepped up and finished to the net giving keeper Aaron McHugh little chance. The Cork defence though were scratching their heads two minutes later. An Allan Devine 65 went all the way to the net. Derek McNicholas added a further point.
Both teams were then reduced to 14 players after a skirmish. Damien Cahalane picking up a straight red for Cork, while Joey Boyle was dismissed on a second yellow. Bill Cooper popped up with a 55th minute which gave the Leesiders a cushion. It was another lucky goal, his 45 metre effort went through the hand of McHugh to the net. Allan Devine added a further free. He would also go on to point from play. Centre back Aonghus Clarke had the gap back to a goal 2-10 to 1-10 with 10 minutes left.
Seamus Harnedy was then fouled as he bored down on goal inside the box. Once again Patrick Horgan stepped up and made no mistake. Shane O’Brien’s charges to their credit hung in. If it wasn’t for the penalties the game could of went either way.