Roscommon's promotion push from Division 2 gained further momentum with a comfortable victory against Westmeath.
Both sides were tied on five points apiece in the league table coming into this encounter but there was a vast gulf in class between the sides as the Connacht champions were rarely troubled by Jack Cooney’s off-colour outfit.
With the wind behind them, Roscommon took their time before building up a nine-point interval advantage.
But Westmeath couldn’t make inroads after the break and Roscommon could even afford the luxury of a missed Enda Smith penalty, although there was some consolation when the Boyle player pointed the rebound.
The home side dominated the opening half, without ever threatening to set the world alight.
They had to be patient, with Westmeath content to bring their outfield players back into defence. But the Lake County showed little in attack as Roscommon comfortably kept tabs on their danger man John Heslin.
Cian McKeon and Heslin swapped early points but Westmeath wouldn't score again for another 23 minutes.
Conor Cox tagged on a free before landing a booming effort from 60 metres to hand the hosts the initiative.
The half’s crucial score arrived in the 20th minute when Enda Smith made headway towards goal before setting up Conor Daly for the game’s opening green flag — the Padraig Pearses player palming the ball to the empty net.
Donie Smith added a free before Westmeath responded through Ronan O’Toole as the home side lost Conor Hussey to a black card.
Cathal Cregg bisected the posts instinctively in the 29th minute but Luke Loughlin kept his side in touch with a good point from play three minutes later.
Roscommon soon applied the after-burners with a hat-trick of Donie Smith frees alongside a point from play by the impressive Cox to give the Rossies a 1-09 to 0-03 lead at the break.
Little changed in the second half as Westmeath were unable to make sufficient inroads. The scores came more regularly but, crucially, Roscommon were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over at the other end.
In fact, four of Westmeath’s second-half tally came in the final five minutes alongside the five minutes of additional time from Heslin, Ronan Wallace and substitutes Lorcan Dolan and Darren Giles.
Despite Enda Smith’s missed penalty, Niall Kilroy, substitute Ciarán Lennon and Donie Smith added points from play but it was Cox who was the main conductor of the orchestra, with a mark
and two frees, to leave Anthony Cunningham’s men very much in the hunt for an immediate return to Division 1 football in 2021.
Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Conor Daly (1-0), Mark Richardson; Niall Daly, Brian Stack, Conor Hussey; Tadhg O’Rourke, Enda Smith (0-01); Niall Kilroy (0-01), Cian McKeon (0-01), Hubert Darcy; Donie Smith (0-05, 0-04f), Conor Cox (0-6, 0-03f, 0-01 mark), Cathal Cregg (0-01).
Subs: Cathal Compton for Cregg (50), Ciarán Lennon (0-01) for D Smith (56), Finbar Cregg for Darcy (58), Padraig Scott for Hussey (64), Richard Hughes for Scott (69), Dylan Ruane for McKeon (70).
Westmeath: Jason Daly; Anthony McGivney, Kevin Maguire, Boidu Sayeh; Killian Daly, Ronan Wallace (0-01), David Lynch; Ray Connellan (0-01), Denis Corroon (0-01); Sam Duncan, Ronan O’Toole (0-03), James Dolan; Luke Loughlin (0-01), John Heslin (0-03, 0-03f), Callum McCormack.
Subs used: Tommy McDaniel for McCormack (48), Conor Coughlan for Lynch (48), Conor Slevin for McGivney (59), Lorcan Dolan (0-01) for Connellan (67), Darren Giles (0-01) for Duncan (69).
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin).