Dessie Farrell’s Championship debut as senior Dublin manager proved to be a facile victory over Westmeath as the county extended their unbeaten SFC run to 38 matches.
Ciarán Kilkenny was excellent, kicking five points from play, in MW Hire O’Moore Park where the All-Ireland champions had opened their previous three Leinster quarter-finals.
Goal chances were scarce, Dean Rock coming close when his palmed effort was denied by Jason Daly in the 55th minute and James Dolan had a couple of openings towards the end. While satisfied with the win, Farrell will be concerned that Eoin Murchan had to be helped off the pitch before the end.
Westmeath were killed on their own kick-out for much of the first quarter and they trailed 0-7 to 0-2 at the break. Putting so many players behind the ball seemed more a containment exercise than anything else and Luke Loughlin was a forlorn figure upfront.
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Man of the match Kilkenny was everywhere and by half-time had helped himself to three points from play as well as providing the likes of Seán Bugler with point opportunities. Westmeath managed to put a couple of points back to back through Ronan O’Toole and Kieran Martin via a mark.
That cut the margin to five but the next five were fired over at the other end, a couple of them Rock frees. By the 24th minute, Dublin had eight different scorers from play. By half-time, they led 0-15 to 0-6, an audacious point by Ray Connellan ending a 12-minute scoreless spell for Westmeath.
D Rock (0-7, 6 frees); C Kilkenny (0-5); S Bugler, P Small (0-2 each); E Murchan, N Scully, J Cooper, C O’Callaghan, R McDaid, B Fenton (0-1 each).
J Heslin (0-3, 2 frees); K Martin (1 mark), L Loughlin, R Connellan (0-2 each); R O’Toole (0-1).
S Cluxton (c); M Fitzsimons, J Cooper, E Murchan; J McCarthy, J Small, R McDaid; B Fenton, T Lahiff; N Scully, C Kilkenny, S Bugler; P Small, C O’Callaghan, D Rock.
B Howard for S Bugler (49); C Costello for P Small (51); D Byrne for M Fitzsimons (55); A Byrne for N Scully (60); E Lowndes for E Murchan (inj 66).
J Daly; B Sayeh, K Maguire, J Smith; J Dolan; K Daly, R Wallace, J Gonoud; S Duncan, R Connellan; D Lynch, J Heslin, R O’Toole; K Martin; L Loughlin.
C Slevin for K Daly (49); C McCormack for D Lynch (52); L Dolan for K Martin (54); A McGivney for L Loughlin (60); B Kelly for R O’Toole (70).
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan).