Strong second-half showing sees Dublin secure sixth successive Leinster title
Jim Gavin's men ran out comfortable winners this afternoon at Croke Park18:00 Sunday 17 July 2016, 18:00 17 Jul 2016
Two second-half goals set Dublin on their way to a sixth successive Leinster title this afternoon, after they beat Westmeath by 2-19 to 10 points at Croke Park.
The game, in truth, was over after 15 minutes of the second period when Jim Gavin's men opened up a 10 point gap and slowly moved through the gears. The subdued reaction from the players after the final whistle told you all you needed to know.
Dublin didn't have it all their own way, beginning the brighter of the two sides, Paul Flynn scoring the opening point of the game after just 17 seconds before John Heslin levelled things up minutes later.
The scoring was kept in check from both sides in the opening half, Dean Rock scored two on the bounce, while Ger Egan and Denis Coroon kept the Tom Cribbin's side in touch.
Bernard Brogan put Dublin two in front before a tense atmosphere in Croke Park began to boil over. Diarmuid Connolly and James Dolan were both shown yellow cards after the were involved in an off the ball incident.
Connolly took exception to Dolan's hair ruffling and took him to the ground with a headlock. The resulting incident saw players from both sides pull and drag out of one another.
Diarmuid Connolly was involved in a scuffle during the first half. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Grealy
Westmeath for their part did all they could to upset the Dublin rhythm and the frequent stops in play suited them. Egan produced a fine score just before the break, a high angled score from the sideline dropping over to cut the gap to one at the break.
After the restart, it was another early point from Dublin to nudge them on their way. Dean Rock went on to score the next two points before Heslin got their first of the second half.
Rock was in imperious form all afternoon and his accuracy from the placed ball was one of the reason for Dublin's increasingly insurmountable lead. And with Dublin nine points ahead, the killer blow came.
Bernard Brogan fisted into the net after some excellent build-up play to kill off any chances of an unlikely Westmeath comeback.
Efforts from Paddy Andrews kept the board ticking over and just before the six minutes of additional time was about to be played, Kevin McManamon tore through the Westmeath defence for Dublin's second goal of the game.
More silverware for the capital and Jim Gavin, but they'll have their full focus and attention on the All-Ireland quarter-final to come.
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