The Reaghstown men eased any lingering relegation fears when they put the Malachis to the sword on Saturday evening in Courtbane. There was just a two-point difference between the sides with twenty minutes left on the clock but a strong finish from the visitors ensured they left with an important league victory.
In ideal conditions, the visitors started the brighter with Trevor Baylon, Anthony Durnin, and Johnny Lynch putting them into an early lead. Although Shane Rogers opened the home sides account, county star Durnin, Baylon, and Conor Kerr kept the score board ticking over before a Durnin free kick claimed his sides seventh point of the opening half. The Mals though finished stronger and a pointed free from Ronan Greene and a well-taken score from midfielder Padraig Moley left four between the sides at the interval.
Half-Time: Naomh Malachi 0-3 Westerns 0-7
A fine Collie Rooney point opened the scoring after the interval, and although Durnin added his third and fourth points of the contest, the game was thrown on its head when Emmet Mullen blasted home a goal to leave just two-points between the sides in the 40th minute. The Mals however failed to capitalise. Durnin added a brace of scores before substitute Andrew Kerr grabbed a major with an individual effort. Terence Sweeney grabbed his customary point before Durnin and substitute Patrick Kerley extended the lead further. The Mals offered some resistance when Rooney, Greene, and Moley pointed but a 45’ from Durnin, a composed effort from his namesake Anthony and third from Baylon put any hopes of a comeback to bed. A late brace from Pierce Caherty were in vain as Kerley and the talisman Durnin put the gloss on a well-deserved victory for the mid-Louth men.
Full-Time: Naomh Malachi 1-9 Westerns 1-19
Naomh Malachi: Niall Bird; David Begley, David Rogers, Sean Gogarty; Peter McShane, Ronan Greene (0-2 1f), Donal Begley; Ronan McElroy, Padraig Moley (0-2); Emmet Mullen (1-0), Collie Rooney (0-2 1f), Ciaran Hughes; Jamie Kelly, Shane Rogers (0-1), Tiernan Gonnelly.
Subs: Pierce Caherty (0-2) for Gonnelly.
Westerns: Ciaran Campbell; Michael Martin, Dylan Ogle, PJ Marron; Sean McGuinness, Stephen Boylan, Colin Martin; Tommy Durnin (0-9 5f 1 45’), Terence Sweeney (0-1); Ciaran Scriven, Trevor Baylon (0-3), Conor Kerr (0-1); Gerard Curtis, Anthony Durnin (0-2), Johnny Lynch (0-1).
Subs: Anthony Kerr (1-0) for Scriven, Shane Matthews for Boylan, and Patrick Kerley (0-2) for Curtis.
Referee: John Crawley