Keenan drives fightback to boost Louth's survival hopes
Louth 0-12 Westmeath 1-6
This Division 2 clash was billed as a 'four-pointer' by both camps in the build-up, and it was Louth who drew first blood in the likely battle against relegation with an impressive second-half display in Haggardstown.
Trailing by two points a minute after the break, the hosts kicked six without reply in a 20-minute spell to repeat their Division 3 League final success over a depleted Westmeath.
Shorn of their Garrycastle contingent and a few hurling defectors, the midlanders paid the price for a glaring lack of firepower in the first half as they ran out of steam completely.
A well-worked goal from Callum McCormack had given the visitors a slight edge in a scratchy first period.
Louth forged two points ahead early on through Darren Clarke and Ronan Carroll, but Trevor English pulled one back for Westmeath and a minute later they hit the front courtesy of McCormack's goal, set up by Alan Giles and Philip Sheridan.
Louth recovered with points from Carroll, Clarke and Paddy Keenan, but Kieran Martin and McCormack made it 1-3 to 0-5 at the break.
Martin kicked an early free to extend Westmeath's lead after the restart, but, inspired by 2010 All Star Paddy Keenan, the hosts took complete control.
Liam Shevlin and Clarke levelled the scores before Keenan fired three points and set up Aaron Hoey.
A couple of late points from Giles made for a nervy final few moments, but Clarke put the seal on a crucial win with a late free.
Man of the Match: Paddy Keenan (Louth)
SCORERS -- Louth: P Keenan, D Clarke (3f) 0-4 each, R Carroll 0-2, A Hoey, L Shevlin 0-1 each. Westmeath: C McCormack 1-1, A Giles, K Martin (1f) 0-2 each, T English 0-1.
LOUTH -- N Gallagher 6; G Hoey 7, D Finnegan 7, R Greene 5; R Finnegan 7, D Crilly 7, L Shevlin 7; P Keenan 8, B Donnelly 7; J McEneaney 7, R Carroll 7, A Reid 7; D Maguire 5, J Califf 5, D Clarke 7. Subs: P Rath 6 for R Greene (9), A Hoey 6 for Califf (30), A McDonnell 6 for D Maguire (h-t), D Reid for J McEneaney (66), S Fitzpatrick for D Finnegan (69).
WESTMEATH -- G Connaughton 6; M Curley 7, K Gavin 7, D McDermott 6; R Foley 6, M Ennis 7, K Maguire 6; T English 7, A Finnan 6; K Martin 7, A Giles 7, P Sheridan 6; P Sherry 7, D Glennon 6, C McCormack 7. Subs: P Bannon 6 for D Glennon (52), J Egan for P Sheridan (63), K Sheridan for T English (69).
REF -- B Cassidy (Derry).