Merciless Derry show gulf in class
Derry 3-16 Westmeath 0-12: When Derry met Westmeath in last year's Division Two final, it took a last minute goal from Emmett McGuckin to separate them.
By the time McGuckin had palmed home Derry's third goal in Celtic Park on Sunday, the Oak Leafers were long since assured of two comfortable points.
This was, in truth, Division One against Division Two.
Two early goals effectively killed the game before it had started. Four minutes in, Derry were 2-0 to 0-1 ahead. Cailean O'Boyle rounded the keeper and used the underside of the bar as he slipped for the first, and not a minute later, Benny Heron made no mistake.
Mark Lynch finished with six points on an afternoon where all six Derry forwards got on the scoresheet. It is nothing unusual for Brian McIver's side.
Against Tyrone, they had nine different scorers, against Kerry it was eight, and it was eight again in front of a small crowd at Celtic Park on Sunday.
Westmeath, by contrast, offered little as an attacking threat beyond the frees of John Heslin. He had the measure of them with the breeze at his back in the first half, and accounted for four of his side's six first half points.
Being wasteful was the only negative the home side would have taken from a first half at the end of which they led 2-7 to 0-6.
Derry made no mistake with their one real goal chance of the second half, one constructed by the interminable running of Sean Leo McGoldrick. Through the gap he went and ruthlessly squared the ball across a crowded goalmouth, and Emmett McGuckin palmed it home. That made it 3-11 to 0-8 after 47 minutes.
The scoring was fittingly finished by McGoldrick, who displayed the full repertoire by kicking off his weaker left foot, to leave Derry joint second behind Cork, to whom they travel next weekend.
As for Westmeath, it's a long way back from here. Paul Bealin refused to surrender his side's top flight status just yet but this was a game they had to take something from if they were to make a proper fist of surviving.
Derry: T Mallon; M Craig, C McKaigue, D McBride; K Johnston (0-1), A McAlynn, SL McGoldrick (0-1); F Doherty, M Lynch (0-6, 0-4f); C McFaul (0-2), J Kielt 0-2 (0-1f), E Lynn (0-2); B Heron (1-0), E McGuckin (1-1), C O'Boyle (1-0). Subs: P Bradley for Doherty (48), C Kielt for Johnston (55), N Holly for J Kielt (55), A Kerrigan for Lynn (60), O Duffy for McKaigue (63), C McWilliams for McAlynn (63)
Westmeath: S Gallagher; S Gilmore, K Gavin, K Maguire; J Dolan (0-1), J Gilligan, J Egan; D Duffy, P Sharry; J Heslin (0-7, 0-5f), G Egan (0-2), K Martin (0-1); C McCormack, R Connellan, D Dolan (0-1)Subs: J Gonoud for J Egan (37), D McCormack for Connellan (45), S Flynn for Sharry (47), G Hoey for C McCormack (54), D Corroon for Martin (54)
Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo).