All Ireland Qualifiers: Derry’s joy after Diver sees red
Westmeath 1-07 Derry 0-13: Just over 2,000 intrepid fans braved the elements to watch this game at Cusack Park in Mullingar, the good sized Derry contingent coming away happy after a battling display that earned them a deserving three point win.
Mark Lynch and Dessie Dolan were both prominent in the respective attacks and it took two superb points from James Kielt to break the deadlock.
Derry held on for victory despite losing the services of Joe Diver who was dismissed in the second half.
Their coach Kevin Madden flagged up the displays of Lynch and Kielt after the game.
“There might have been question marks about Mark Lynch and James Kielt about whether they could make the step up and be championship footballers,” he said. “Both of them stepped up today.”
Lynch popped over a point to put Derry 0-08 to 0-04 ahead six minutes from the break, but David Duffy closed the gap just before the short whistle.
On the restart, Derry took a firm grip on the game with converted frees from Lynch and Kielt, Raymond Wilkinson weighing in with a magnificent score in the 53rd minute.
Then Westmeath substitute Martin Flanagan scored a freakish fisted goal off the underside of the bar in the 50th minute, Derry midfielder Diver picking up a second yellow four minutes later.
Westmeath sensed a chance of victory, twice reducing the margin to two points, but, with Enda Muldoon dropping back to the full back line and Brian McAlary in magnificent form at corner back Derry held on.
In the closing minutes Derry needed a score to avoid a late ambush and Eoin Bradley delivered two minutes from time.
Westmeath: G Connaughton; F Boyle, J Gaffney, K Maguire; M Ennis (0-1), J Keane, D Harte; D Duffy (0-1), P Bannon (0-1); K Martin, C Lynam, G Egan; P Greville, D Dolan (0-4), D Glennon. Subs; M Flanagan (1-0) for Lynam;
Derry: B Gillis; B Og McAlary, K McGuckin, D McBride; M Craig, G O’Kane, C Kielt; J Diver, E Muldoon; C McKeever, J Kielt (0-6,0-3 frees), B McGoldrick; E Bradley (0-2), M Lynch (0-4), R Wilkinson (0-1). Subs: D Mullan for O’Kane
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)