A late flurry of points, with Ger Egan to the fore, saw Westmeath maintain their drive for promotion from Division 3 with a hard-earned win over neighbours Longford in Mullingar.
John Heslin opened the scoring with a great point for Westmeath after 70 seconds, followed by some wasteful shooting from a wind-assisted Longford. Daniel Mimnagh and Ger Egan (from a tricky free) traded points before Ronan O’Toole found the net in great style for the home team in the eighth minute.
However, with Mimnagh particularly prominent, Longford rattled off four unanswered points to level the scoring by the end of the opening quarter.
Egan and Heslin shared Westmeath’s remaining points in the first half, with Donal McElligott’s injury-time point from a free (following a mark) leaving his side trailing by 1-06 to 0-07 at the break.
An angled point from O’Toole stretched Westmeath’s lead within a minute of the resumption of play, but Longford drew level in the 41st minute when Michael Quinn goaled, moments after Boidu Sayeh had a shot saved at the other end by Paddy Collum.
The latter player put his side in front for the first time (1-9 to 1-8) with a splendid free in the 48th minute.
However, quality points from O’Toole and Heslin, prior to four from Egan (three frees followed by a delightful finish from open play) wrapped up the points for Jack Cooney’s troops.
Longford were reduced to 14 men deep into added-time when Donal McElligott was red-carded, and Darren Quinn’s late point was merely a consolation score.
Westmeath: E Carberry; K Daly, R Wallace, B Sayeh; K Maguire, F Boyle, J Dolan; S Duncan, D Corroon; J Gonoud, J Heslin (0-03), J Smith; R O’Toole (1-02), K Martin, G Egan (0-09, 0-07f).
Subs: N Mulligan for Gonoud (52), T McDaniel for Smith (67), N O’Reilly for Daly (inj., 70).
Longford: P Collum (0-01, f); P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; B McKeon, D McElligott (0-01, f), D Quinn (0-01); D Gallagher (0-02, 0-2f), M Quinn (1-00); P Lynn (0-01), J McGivney, D Mimnagh (0-03); D Doherty (0-01), C Berry, L Connerton.
Subs: J Hagan for Doherty (44), N Rabbitt for Connerton (57), I O’Sullivan for Lynn (66).
Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary).