Kieran Martin's brilliant solo goal helps Westmeath edge out Cavan in Tailteann Cup final 2 months ago

Kieran Martin's brilliant solo goal helps Westmeath edge out Cavan in Tailteann Cup final

Westmeath 2-14 Cavan 1-13

History has officially been made as Westmeath lift the first ever Tailteann Cup, defeating a brilliant Cavan side in a game that went right to the wire.

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In a final that had just about everything, it was the Ulster side who got off to the stronger start, asserting the dominance that many thought they would.

However, the Leinster team found their feet, and brilliant performances from the likes of Ronan O'Toole meant that they actually went in at half time in the lead.

That was largely down to a Lorcan Dolan goal, but with 20 minutes to go Cavan replied with a goal themselves.

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An effort that dropped short found its way into the path of Padraig Faulkner, and the full back palmed it into the goal, and looked set to secure his side's victory.

The changing point arguably came when Thomas Galligan received a straight red for colliding with his shoulder straight into O'Toole's face.

Referee Barry Cassidy looked certain that was a red card offence straight away, and the replays proved him to be right.

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With a man down, Mickey Graham's team really started to feel the pressure, and eventually it took a moment of magic from substitute Kieran Martin, who jinked and jived his way past the defence, and fired it into the net.

With three points down, Cavan knew they needed a goal, so on comes Conor Madden, the goalscorer and hero of the 2020 Ulster victory.

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History looked set to repeat itself as the ball was worked beautifully into the forward's hands, and with the goal at his mercy, Croke Park were convinced that we were going into extra time.

Up stepped Kevin Maguire, the rock of Westmeath, the captain, the leader, the man who was just not going to let this lead slip away, and he dived in to make a heroic save and effectively secured his county's victory.

Ronan Wallace wasn't long darting down the opposite end to fist over the insurance point and cue the full time whistle.

Westmeath are officially Tailteann Cup champions.

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