Geraldine Sheridan scored the crucial goal as a strong finish by Cavan saw them retain their TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship status for next year and relegate Westmeath back to the Intermediate grade.

After being behind for most of the game, Cavan took the lead for the first time in the 48th minute and despite Westmeath coming back at them, Gerry Moane’s side were able to hold on.

With so much at stake, both sides went for it straight from the start in an enthralling contest.

Westmeath opened up a four-point lead in the 13th minute with points from the inspirational Sarah Dillon (two), Karen Hegarty and Ciara Blundell.

Cavan were wasteful in front of the posts and their shot selection was poor. They were awarded a penalty in the 14th minute when Sheridan was brought down. Westmeath goalkeeper Ciara Faulkner made an excellent save from Lauren McVeety.

A pointed free from Aisling Gilsenan in the 21st minute was Cavan’s first score of the game. Dillon cancelled that out with a free of her own. McVeety and Gilsenan fired over frees to cut the gap to two in the 30th minute and just before the break Sheridan’s effort was blocked by the Westmeath defence.

Cavan were level in the 35th minute with frees from Gilsenan and McVeety but a fantastic point from Hegarty edged Westmeath back in front one minute later; their first score since the 21st minute.

Dillon’s shot in the 42nd minute eluded the Cavan keeper Elaine Walsh and dipped into the net. The lead was three but back came Cavan with two points before Sheridan finished to the net in the 48th minute to put them ahead for the first time.

Westmeath went level after a lovely Dillon point but Cavan were ahead by two twice in the final minutes. Westmeath could only respond once. And McVeety and Gilsenan kicked over frees near the end to give Cavan the win and saw them retain their Senior status for 2023.

Cavan: E Walsh; K McIntyre, S Lynch, E Longair; S Greene (0-01), L Fitzpatrick, M Sheridan; N Byrd, A Deneher; N Keenaghan (0-02), L McVeety (0-05, 4f), A Walls; G Sheridan (1-01), Á Reilly, A Gilsenan (0-03f).

Subs: C O'Malley (0-01) for Walls (36), A Cahill for Reilly (36).

Westmeath: C Faulkner; M Fagan, M Scally, A O’Malley; N Nolan, A Alford, F Coyle; V Carr, T Dillon; C Kelly, S Dillon (1-06, 0-02f), K Boyce-Jordan; C Blundell (0-01), K Hegarty (0-02), L Power.

Subs: S Buckley for O’Malley (36), S Lyons for Hegarty (59).

Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).