Westmeath, under new manager Sean Finnegan, got their Lidl NFL Division 1 season off to the perfect start with victory over Monaghan, writes Paul Doolin.
Leanne Slevin landed five points in a well merited ten-point win against an out of sorts Monaghan, Westmeath winning out 1-14 to seven points.
Leading by 1-10 to 0-4 at the half, this game was almost done and dusted at the break and despite some stout resistance by the Farney girls after the interval, Westmeath cruised to the win.
Westmeath opened brightly with super points from play by Sarah Dolan, wing back Fiona Claffey and two Slevin frees, while Monaghan replied with a couple of excellent Ciara McAnespie strikes in an entertaining start.
Then the Lake County hit their straps and a brilliant solo effort from Johanna Maher was added to twice by Maud Annie Foley from play, while a Slevin free put them in control.
Better was to come for Westmeath when a defensive mix up by Monaghan saw Lucy McCartan net the opening goal, while another Slevin point stretched Westmeath’s advantage.
Ciara McAnespie, Monahan’s best performer by far, pulled one back before her teammate, Rosemary Courtney, followed her with the point of the half, but they still trailed by nine points at half-time.
The second half was a slow burner and very miserable conditions mitigated against flowing football, although Leanne Maguire landed two points for Monaghan but Foley and Sarah Dillon hit back for Westmeath.
The game petered out as a contest and a raft of substitutions followed, but Slevin added another pointed free for Westmeath, while Rosemary Courtney replied for the Farney.
And it was sub Sarah Dillon who added the coup de grace when she slotted over the final point for a memorable day for Westmeath, and one to erase quickly from the memory for Monaghan.
Westmeath: K Walsh; R Dillon, J Rogers, L Power; F Coyle, K McDermott, F Claffey; K Boyce Jordan, V Carr; L McCartan, L Slevin, J Maher; S Dolan, A Jones, MA Foley.
Subs: S Dillon for Jordan (42), K Hegarty for Dolan (46), L Brennan for Slevin (57), A Dolan for Foley (57), A Giles for Carr (60).
Scorers: L Slevin 0-5 (5f), MA Foley 0-3, L McCartan 1-0, S Dillon 0-2, J Maher 0-2, F Claffey 0-1, S Dolan 0-1.
Monaghan: Alanna McCarey; L Flynn, S Coyle, H McShane; N Kerr, A McAnespie, C Treanor; M Atkinson, R Courtney; Abbey McCarey, C Courtney, E McAnespie; E Woods, L Maguire, C McAnespie.
Subs: B Tierney for Alanna McCarey (h-t) G McKenna for C Courteney (40), S Boyd for Abbie McCarey (46), R McConnell for Maguire (54), A Hamill for Treanor (54).
Scorers: C McAnespie 0-3, R Courtney 0-2, L Maguire 0-2.
Referee: Kevin Corcoran (Mayo).