Quirke leads fightback
Down by three points at the break, Offaly outplayed Westmeath in the second half in Cusack Park Mullingar on Saturday.
Offaly only scored five points in the first half, two of them frees from Stephen Quirke, but after the break they took over.
The move of midfielder Adrian Hynes to the edge of the square proved pivotal as his three-point haul brought his side back into the match, while Quirke's unerring accuracy from the dead ball kept the scoreboard ticking over. Once they went ahead on 44 minutes they always looked as if they had the measure of the losers.
Westmeath visibly wilted as the game went on and when they began to lose the midfield battle early in the second half then they were always on the back foot.
Scorers -- Offaly: S Quirke 0-9 (0-7f, 0-1 65'), A Hynes, S Cleary 0-3 each, A Kealey 0-1. Westmeath: A Clarke 0-9 (0-6f, 1 65'), D Fennell, A Price (0-1f), A Craig, N O'Brien, J Boyle 0-1 each.
Offaly -- C Clancy; M Cleary, P Camon, S Og Lyons; B Murphy, S McKelve, D King; A Hynes, P Geraghty; S Cleary, A Kealey, P Murphy; S Quirke, T Carroll, E Ryan. Subs: J O'Connor for P Geraghty (29), T Geraghty for P Murphy (52), D Morkan for O'Connor (59).
Westmeath -- N Kelly; E Kincaid, T Doyle, T Gallagher; D Fennell, A Price, K Reilly; A Craig, S Fagan; A Clarke, C Scally, G Flynn; N O'Brien, D Higgins, J Boyle. Subs: D Gavin for Flynn (42), D McCormack for Kincaid (52).
Ref -- S Cleere (Kilkenny).