Westmeath overpower Wexford, Wicklow best Antrim in All-Ireland Ladies Football finals

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Westmeath Overpower Wexford, Wicklow Best Antrim In All-Ireland Ladies Football Finals Westmeath Overpower Wexford, Wicklow Best Antrim In All-Ireland Ladies Football Finals
Westmeath's Sarah Dillon celebrates after scoring her side's third goal during the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football Championship Final against Wexford. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
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Westmeath 4-19 - 0-6 Wexford

Updated: 3.45pm

Sarah Dillon and Anna Jones scored 1-6 each as Westmeath were crowned TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate champions thanks to a convincing victory over Wexford at Croke Park.

Westmeath lost out to today’s Senior finalists Meath in the 2020 decider but they bounced back in style to claim the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup and Senior status for 2022.

Sean Finnegan’s side were 2-11 to 0-3 in front at the half-time interval after goals from Leona Archibold and Lucy McCartan. And there was no comeback from Wexford as further goals from Sarah Dillon and Jones saw Westmeath power to victory.

Westmeath were in front by the second minute when Sarah Dillon struck but she could have had a goal shortly afterwards. Fiona Claffey and Ciara Blundell created the opening only for Sarah Merrigan to pull off a brilliant save in the Wexford goal.

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Westmeath's Fiona Claffey lifts the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup after the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Intermediate Football Championship Final. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Westmeath looked dominant and points from Jones and Tracey Dillon widened the gap before Sherene Hamilton scored Wexford’s first point from wide on the right in the eighth minute.

The teams traded scores before Merrigan produced another excellent save to deny Ciara Blundell from point-blank range.

Westmeath were 0-5 to 0-2 ahead but the game soon turned further in their favour. Loren Doyle pulled down Sarah Dillon for a penalty and Archibold stepped up to blast the ball into the top left corner in the 16th minute.

Westmeath were already six points in front at the first water break and just after the restart McCartan found herself in space and fizzed another sensational shot into the roof of Merrigan’s net.

From there Westmeath scored all but one of the seven points before half-time, Jones and Sarah Dillon helped themselves to two each and they led by 2-11 to 0-3 at the break.

Sarah Dillon scored the first three points of the second half and Westmeath took a 2-16 to 0-5 advantage into the final quarter.

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Sarah Dillon scored a third Westmeath goal in the 49th minute before Jones palmed home the fourth four minutes from time.

After conceding a penalty late on Merrigan was shown a yellow card and captain Aisling Murphy went into the Wexford goals before stopping an Aoife Connolly strike, but Westmeath had plenty in the tank.

Junior Final - Antrim 1-9 Wicklow 2-17

Meadhbh Deeney scored the crucial second goal to shake off Antrim’s comeback as Wicklow made amends for last year’s final defeat to claim the West County Hotel Cup with victory in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Championship Final.

Mark Murnaghan’s side lost the 2020 decider to Fermanagh at Parnell Park but back in Croke Park they regained their Intermediate status after a stylish victory.

Wicklow were already well on the way by half-time when they took a 0-10 to 0-3 lead into the break and after the restart Clodagh Fox scored the first goal. Gráinne McLaughlin hit back for Antrim but Deeney immediately killed off the revival.

Wicklow took the lead in the fourth minute when Deeney scored, and the Leinster outfit continued to pile on the pressure. Deeney doubled her tally and Catherine Dempsey got in on the act when Wicklow could have had a goal.

Top-scorer Marie Kealy scored her first point from a free in the tenth minute, and after an heroic block by Wicklow captain Sarah Jane Winders down the other end, Kealy tapped over another.

Antrim looked in real trouble as they trailed by 0-6 to 0-0 after 11 minutes but they got their first point moments later when McLaughlin fired over from the ground.

Wicklow held that five-point advantage up to the first water break and Dempsey extended it with her second score.

Antrim started to provide more of a threat up front and their attack was spear-headed by McLaughlin. She scored a couple of points either side of another Fox effort.

Fox and Kealy combined to bring Wicklow’s tally into double-digits and the deserved to be seven points clear at the interval.

Antrim needed to start fast in the second half but instead Wicklow found the net through Fox in the 31st minute. She got through Áine Tubridy’s tackle and finished high past Anna McCann.

Moments later Maeve Blaney stopped Deeney’s goal-bound effort on the line but Wicklow continued to drive forward, and when Laurie Ahern scored in the 43rd minute all six of the starting Wicklow forwards had contributed to the scoreboard.

They were 1-15 to 0-5 ahead at the second water break only for McLaughlin to score a stunning goal in the 52nd minute when she rocketed a shot low to Linda Dempsey’s bottom left corner.

However one minute later Deeney put the game beyond doubt when she scrambled the ball over the line, and after McLaughlin’s later penalty cleared the Wicklow crossbar, the Leinster side cruised to victory.

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