Galway were left green with envy at Pearse Stadium tonight as Westmeath qualified for their third All-Ireland SFC quarter-final in six seasons, beating their hosts by 1-08 to 0-10.

Wearing their changed strip of green to avoid a colour clash, the midlanders shocked the hosts with Gary Dolan grabbing the vital goal after 55 minutes.

Galway's hopes were hit when surprise starter Ja Fallon was forced off with a shoulder injury after barely 11 minutes.

Points from Dessie Dolan, Alan Mangan and Denis Glennon sent Westmeath in at the break with a 0-06 to 0-04 lead.

After Dolan's goal, Galway came back into it but scores from substitute Cormac Bane (0-02) and team captain Michael Donnellan could only reduce the arrears to one for Galway.

The Tribesmen did have a late, late chance to level the game but a Joyce free from 48 metres out dropped short and debutant Gary Sice could only fist wide after a skirmish for possession.

A blustery wind played havoc with both sides' play and while Westmeath had the advantage of the elements in the first half, it took a while for them to settle.

The Lake men were pinging long deliveries into the forward lines, but more often that not, it was a Galway player who was emerging with the ball.

Michael Meehan kicked the opener before Dessie Dolan replied with his first free of the evening. Then Westmeath 'keeper Gary Connaughton made two seismic interventions - firstly and unintentionally, he collided with returning Galway star Fallon, who had nudged Fiachra Breathnach out of the starting line-up. The 33-year-old's comeback game, after a three-year absence, ended on a sad note.

Connaughton then pulled off a great stop when Padraic Joyce was baring down on goal.

Wing back Gary Glennon raced up the field to push Westmeath in front for the first time after 14 minutes. The Lake men remained in front, kicking ahead for a two-point lead, despite Meehan's first half haul of three points (two frees).

The Caltra youngster was one of few Galway forwards performing as both Joyce and the fit-again Paul Clancy failed to have the necessary impact.

A 34th-minute free from Dolan, who was being marked out of the game in open play, maintained his side's two-point gap for the interval.

The former All-Star added another point, ninety seconds in the second half, and a score from his brother Gary sent Westmeath 0-08 to 0-04 clear.

Frees from Joyce and Meehan, who did miss their fair share of placed balls in the second half, cut the gap back to two and impressive substitute Bane reduced it to one at 0-08 to 0-07.

Then came the goal - centre forward Gary Dolan showed great composure to beat Alan Keane after a neat delivery in by his brother.

But Westmeath have made a habit of winning games by one-point - witness their victories against Limerick and Sligo in the two previous rounds - so their four-point lead was never going to last.

Westmeath had their 2004 Leinster-winning captain David O'Shaughnessy controlling matters at midfield, so Galway opted to fire Joe Bergin up to full-forward for the closing 12 minutes.

Bergin managed to tag on a free to leave a goal between the sides in the 64th-minute, Bane's second point soon followed and Donnellan added a free in injury-time. Peter Ford's men, despite losing Meehan to a shoulder injury, were still fighting.

Five minutes into injury-time and there was still no sign of Kerry referee Aidan Mangan's full-time whistle. Westmeath nerves jangled further when Joyce was awarded his late free.

Just three metres in from the sideline, the former skipper was eyeing up the posts. Under the stand Ford looked like he was about to summon the injured Meehan, who is well known for his prowess for taking long range frees, from the bench.

But Joyce manfully took on the challenge, just as Donnellan had done when Galway trailed by a single point in the Connacht final. However his kick did not have the necessary meat. One point was enough for Westmeath to march proudly on as the only Division Two side left in the race for Sam Maguire.

The win also preserved their honourable record of never having lost to a Connacht team in the championship.

Galway: A Keane; K Fitzgerald, F Hanley, D Burke; D Meehan (0-01), D Blake, G Sice; B Cullinane, J Bergin (0-01); M Clancy, P Clancy, M Donnellan (capt) (0-01 (1f)); M Meehan (0-04 (3f)), P Joyce (0-01 (1f)), J Fallon.
Subs used: C Bane (0-02) for Fallon (13 mins), N Coleman for P Clancy (49), F Breathnach for M Meehan (70).

Westmeath: G Connaughton; J Keane, D Healy, F O'Boyle; M Ennis, D O'Donoghue, G Glennon (0-01); D Duffy, P Bannon; D Heavin, D Glennon (0-02), A Mangan (0-01); J Durkan, G Dolan (1-01), D Dolan (capt) (0-03 (3f)).
Subs used: J Connellan for Durkan (25 mins), D O'Shaughnessy for Duffy (32), P Martin for Connellan (63), B Nannery for Heavin (70+2).

Referee: Aidan Mangan (Kerry).