Páidi Ó Sé's reign as Westmeath football manager came to a disappointing end as his injury-ravaged side lost out to Clare at Cusack Park, Ennis.

Ó Sé indicated after the game that he will step down after two years at the helm. While the 2005 season ended on a low note, Ó Sé will be fondly remembered in Westmeath for guiding the county to its first-ever Leinster senior title.

"It's very much looking like I won't be there for another term at all. I'm going to take a time-out now," said the colourful Kerryman afterwards.

Ironically, Westmeath exited the championship at the hands of a team managed by Ó Sé's former Kerry team-mate, John Kennedy.

Clare's victory was fully-merited and the Ventry man admitted after the game that Clare could have been "out the gate" at half-time.

Torrential rain before the throw-in left conditions very slippery. Clare had the aid of the elements in the first half and, with wing-forward David Russell hugely influential, the home side led 0-6 to 0-2 at half-time.

Clare could have been further ahead at the break. Westmeath had a let-off early on when a shot from Clare full-forward Stephen Hickey came back off the butt of an upright.

In the absence of star player Dessie Dolan, the Westmeath attack struggled to function in the opening period.

But the visitors rallied in the second half and cut Clare's lead to two points (0-10 to 0-8). However, the Leinster champions couldn't get any closer and points by Rory Donnelly and Odran O'Dwyer sealed Clare's win.

Westmeath threw everything at Clare in a bid to conjure an equalising goal, but the Munster men held on after their net survived two narrow escapes.

Clare: D O'Brien; P Gallagher, D Kelly, G Tubridy; A Clohessy 0-1, K Dilleen, D Callinan; G Quinlan 0-1, P O'Dwyer 0-1; D Russell 0-1, S Daniels, O O'Dwyer 0-3 (2f); R Donnelly 0-3 (2f), S Hickey, E Coughlan 0-2.

Subs: M O'Shea for Daniels (16 mins), M O'Connell for Callinan (38 mins).

Westmeath: G Connaughton; J McAteer, D O'Donoghue, J Keane; M Ennis, D Healy, P Mulvihill 0-1; C Galligan, D O'Shaughnessy; F Wilson 0-1, D Heavin, J Fallon;
David Glennon 0-2, Denis Glennon 0-3 (3f), A Mangan 0-2.

Subs: D Duffy for McAteer (27 mins), R O'Connell for Fallon (42), D Kilmartin for Duffy (49 mins), D Gavin for Galligan (56 mins), D Martin for Heavin (69 mins inj).

Referee: F Flynn (Leitrim)