Cooney praises Westmeath men as promotion push pays off with draw
Louth 2-7 Westmeath 1-10
Jubilant Westmeath manager Jack Cooney paid tribute to his players as they secured promotion to Division 2 thanks to a hard-fought draw with Louth.
"I thought it was a very exciting game and I thought the lads just fought for everything out there," he said.
"The lads have played a lot of football since Christmas, but we have Laois next week in Croke Park and we'll be looking for one more big push now and see how we go."
Westmeath travelled to Drogheda knowing a point would see them promoted, but they faced an in-form Louth side who themselves could gain promotion with a win.
It was the home side who made the first decisive move of the half as captain Bevan Duffy hit the back of the net. That put Louth three points clear, but a Luke Loughlin point just before the short whistle made it a two point game at half-time.
The sides traded penalties early in the second half, with man of the match Ger Egan netting for Westmeath and Jim McEneaney responding for Louth.
Three points without reply put Cooney's side back in control and despite a late fightback from Louth the men from the Lake County held on. They will now face Laois in the Division 3 final this Saturday (4.45pm) in Croke Park.
SCORERS - Louth: J McEneaney (Pen), B Duffy 1-0 each, C Downey 0-3 (1f), J Califf, J Craven, S Mulroy (f), E Duffy 0-1 each
Westmeath: G Egan 1-4 (1 pen, 3f, 1 mark), L Loughlin 0-3, D Carroon, J Heslin, S Duncan 0-1 each.
Louth - F Sheeky 6, F Donohue 6, E Carolan 6, J Craven 7, A Williams 6, B Duffy 8, J Clutterbuck 6, T Durnin 7 (Red Card 70), J Califf 7, C Brannigan 6, C Downey 7, J McEneaney 7, A McDonnell 6, S Mulroy 5, D Byrne 5 Subs: R Burns 6 for D Byrne (44), E Duffy 7 for A McDonnell (50), C Early for J Califf (55), R Nally 6 for S Mulroy (59), C McKeever N/A for J McEneaney (66)
Westmeath - E Carberry 6, K Daly 6, R Wallace 6, B Sayeh 6, K Maguire 6, F Boyle 6, J Dolan 6, S Duncan 7, D Corroon 7, J Smith 6, J Heslin 6, L Loughlin 7, R O'Toole 6, K Martin 6, G Egan 8 Subs: N Mulligan 6 for J Smith (31), Joe Halligan N/A for Luke Loughran (70).
Ref - S Laverty (Antrim)