Without ever reaching any great heights, Westmeath comfortably qualified for the third round draw of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers by defeating Limerick by six points in front of 2,000 spectators in Mullingar.
The first half was largely a pedestrian affair with Westmeath always looking the better side. Tommy McDaniel opened the scoring for the home team, but a point apiece from half backs Gordon Brown and Iain Corbett nudged Limerick ahead.
Goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan was unable to convert either of two '45’s for the visitors and, with Ger Egan leading the way and scoring four points in the process (including two frees), Westmeath were full value for their four-point lead at the end of 35 minutes.
However in the second minute of added-time, James Dolan soloed forward from defence and duly rifled a low shot to the net to put Jack Cooney’s troops into a commanding 1-9 to 0-5 lead at the interval.
Westmeath started the second half as they ended the first, with a goal, Joe Halligan applying a powerful finish past O’Sullivan after just 30 seconds, following great work by Egan, McDaniel and full-back Ronan Wallace.
Three converted frees by Jamie Lee quickly cancelled out this goal. Limerick missed another brace of ‘45’s in the third quarter, O’Sullivan again and substitute Sean McSweeney the culprits.
There was hope still for the Treaty, as a scrambled goal by the outstanding Darragh Treacy after a long run goalward in the 54th minute and points from Seamus O’Carroll (despite being pressurised) and an O’Sullivan free left them trailing by just four points (2-11 to 1-10) with ten minutes of normal time remaining.
However, substitute John Heslin kicked a sublime point and Egan slotted over a late free to wrap up a deserved win for the Lake County.
Westmeath: E Carberry; B Sayeh, R Wallace, K Maguire; K Daly, J Smith, J Dolan (1-00); D Corroon, K Martin (0-01); D Lynch, C McCormack (0-02), J Halligan (1-00); T McDaniel (0-01), G Egan(0-06, 0-04f), R O’Toole (0-02).
Subs: J Heslin (0-01) for McDaniel (39), S Duncan for Daly (49), N O’Reilly for O’Toole (59), N Mulligan for McCormack (65), F Boyle for Halligan (70 + 2),
Limerick: D O’Sullivan (0-01, f); B Fanning, S O’Dea, C McSweeney; G Brown (0-01), I Corbett (0-01), C Fahy; D Treacy (1-00), T Childs; T McCarthy, M Fitzgibbon, J Naughton; P de Brún, S O’Carroll (0-01), J Lee (0-06, 0-05f).
Subs: A Enright for de Brún (43), S McSweeney for C McSweeney (49), P Nash for Naughton (59), P Scanlon for Lee (67), G Noonan for Brown (67), T Griffin for O’Carroll (70).
Ref: J Molloy (Galway)