O'Rourke's Louth avoid wooden spoon
Louth 1-14 Westmeath 0-10
A MAY championship date seemed a world away as Louth and Westmeath battled to avoid the Group D wooden spoon at a cold, wet and windy Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda.
The hosts eventually pulled away to record their first win of the season, but both camps still have plenty to work on ahead of the National League.
Louth have shown signs of improvement as the competition has progressed, recovering from a heavy opening-night defeat to DCU to run Dublin close in midweek and then take the spoils here.
The sides went into the break level, 1-5 to 0-8, Liam Shevlin grabbing the goal for Louth.
Aidan O'Rourke's side started the second period with three quick points as Kevin Rogers, Declan Byrne and Shevlin all hit the target.
Westmeath only managed two points after the break -- that statistic will have pleased former defender O'Rourke, who watched his side seal the deal with the last five points of the contest.
SCORERS -- Louth: L Shevlin 1-2, K Rogers 0-3 (3fs), D Crilly, D Maguire, D Byrne 0-2 each, S Campbell, A Reid, R Brodigan 0-1 each. Westmeath: C McCormack, D Dolan (2f), A Giles 0-2 each, D Glennon, L Smyth (f), G Hoey, D Corroon 0-1 each.
LOUTH -- S McCoy; P Rath, D Finnegan, K McLaughlin; A Reid, D Crilly, L Shevlin; P Keenan, R Brodigan; D Byrne, G Connolly B Duffy; W Woods, K Rogers, D Maguire. Subs: C Judge for G Connolly (h-t), A McDonnell for R Brodigan (h-t), S Campbell for Woods (38), D Clarke for K Rogers (60), R Brennan for A Reid (60), P Sheelan for Judge (66, BC).
WESTMEATH -- S Gallagher; S Gilmore, K McGuire, D Dolan; D Harte, F Boyle, R Foley; D Duffy, D Corroon; G Hoey, C McCormack, L Smyth; A Giles, D Dolan, T McDaniels. Subs: D Glennon for McCormack (16), J Gilligan for F Boyle (h-t), D McCormack for L Smyth (59), K Daly for McDaniels (59), K Gavin for D Harte (65), D Lynch for G Hoey (70).
REF -- M Deegan (Laois)