Leonard is a class apart as Galway make light work of Westmeath
Galway 5-11 Westmeath 0-7
By Tomás Keating
Róisín Leonard netted a hat-trick as Galway got back to winning ways with an emphatic victory in their Lidl National Football Division 1 clash with Westmeath in Mullingar.
The Tribeswomen struck two goals in the space of a minute in the early action, and it was one way traffic from then on as Tim Rabbitt’s side got their first win of this year’s competition.
Westmeath opened the day’s scoring the opening minute through a score from Leona Archibold but Galway replied ruthlessly registering 2-6 without reply. Cousins Tracey and Róisín Leonard fired over back-to-back points, and in the seventh minute Róisín Leonard coolly finished past ’keeper Lauren McCormack. Straight from the kickout, Galway won possession and Sarah Conneally was left unmarked on the edge of the square and she hit the net.
Tracey Leonard stroked over a free and Róisín Leonard rattled off three points to make it 2-6 to 0-1 after 22 minutes. Westmeath rallied though and Lucy McCartan and Archibold fired over scores as they trailed 2-6 to 0-3 at the break.
Upon resumption, the Lake County opened the scoring again as substitute Anna Jones clipped over a free, but Galway replied with a goal from Ailbhe Davoren, who blasted to the roof of the net in the 35th minute.
Olivia Divilly got her first score of the day, and she then turned provider to set up Róisín Leonard, who buried her second goal, as Galway led 4-8 to 0-5 after 49 minutes.
Archibold pointed before there was a long break due to an injury to Westmeath player Sarah Dolan. When play resumed, Ailish Morrissey raised a white flag and Róisín Leonard rounded Aoife Temple and scored her third goal to complete a memorable day personally.
McCartan replied with a score for Sean Finnegan’s side but Galway showed their dominance as Leanne Coen and Divilly registered scores deep into injury-time.
Scorers – Galway: R Leonard 3-4 (1f), S Conneally 1-0, A Davoren 1-0, T Leonard 0-3 (2f), O Divilly 0-2, L Coen 0-1, A Morrissey 0-1. Westmeath: L Archibold 0-3, L McCartan 0-3, A Jones 0-1 (1f).
GALWAY: D Gower; Chloe Crowe, S Lynch, S Molloy; F Cooney, C Cooney, L Coen; O Divilly, A Davoren; L Noone, T Leonard, A Trill; L Hannon, R Leonard, S Conneally. Subs: C Miskell for Conneally (46), N Connolly for Lynch (48), B Murphy for F Cooney (53), R Ní Fhlatharta for Hannon (53), E Gannon for Noone (53), A Morrissey for T Leonard (53), L Diskin for Gower (55), S Divilly for Davoren (69), Chelsie Crowe for Trill (63).
WESTMEATH: L McCormack; R Dillon, K McDermott, L Power; F Coyle, F Claffey, A Roche; J Maher, V Carr; A Dolan, L Archibold, L McCartan; T Dillon, S McCormack, J Draper. Subs: E Kelly for Draper (17), S Dolan for Power inj. (19), A Jones for Maher (h-t), A Temple for L McCormack (41), K Hegerty for S McCormack (45), C Thornton for S Dolan inj. (52).
Ref - Mel Kenny (Mayo).