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Heslin fires 14-man Westmeath home

Westmeath 0-10 Fermanagh 0-8

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Westmeath led by 0-7 to 0-1 at the break. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Westmeath led by 0-7 to 0-1 at the break. Stock photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Westmeath led by 0-7 to 0-1 at the break. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Westmeath overcame the handicap of playing the last 25 minutes a man down to eke out a vital win over Fermanagh in very difficult conditions at Cusack Park in Mullingar.

The very strong wind always looked like it would make for a 'game of two halves', and so it transpired.

The home team raced into a five-point lead with 14 minutes elapsed with scores from Ronan O'Toole, John Heslin (two frees), David Lynch and Callum McCormack.

Then Conall Jones slotted over Fermanagh's only score of the half when he converted a 27th-minute free.

Another Heslin free and a great point from Ray Connellan wrapped up the first-half scoring before Jason Daly produced a crucial save from Ultan Kelm in the 35th minute.

Westmeath led by 0-7 to 0-1 at the break.

Heslin slotted over a tricky free to open second-half scoring, before Connellan was wide from a great goal chance in the 42nd minute.

Fermanagh were wasteful and four missed frees from very good positions were to prove very costly.

Ryan Jones kicked two great points from play and when Aidan Breen added another, the Ulster side looked to be in a good position when they trailed by two points with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

However, a Heslin free steadied Westmeath's nerves and they held on to win by two points.

Scorers - Westmeath: J Heslin 0-5 (5f), R Connellan 0-2, R O'Toole, C McCormack, D Lynch 0-1 each. Fermanagh: R Jones, A Breen, C Jones (2f) 0-2 each, Shane McGullion, Stephen McGullion 0-1 each.

Westmeath - J Daly 7; J Smith 6, R Wallace 7, B Sayeh 7; P Holloway 6, K Maguire 8, K Daly 6; D Corroon 7, R Connellan 8; J Dolan 6, R O'Toole 6, D Lynch 6; C McCormack 6, J Heslin 7, L Loughlin 6. Subs: S Duncan 6 for McCormack (53), A McGivney 6 for Holloway (58), T McDaniel n/r for O'Toole (70+3).

Fermanagh - J McGrath 6; J Cassidy 6, E Sheils 6, K McDonnell 6; D McCusker 6, D McGurn 6, Shane McGullion 7; E Donnelly 7, R Jones 8; A Breen 7, U Kelm 7, C Corrigan 6; Stephen McGullion 6, C Jones 6, L McStravick 5. Subs: D Teague 7 for McStravick (23), M McCauley 6 for Sheils (57), E McManus 6 for McDonnell (61), N Cosgrove n/r for McGurn (68).

REF - N Mooney (Cavan).

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