Heslin hits top gear as Carberry saves the day
Westmeath 2-17 Derry 2-14
An injury-time penalty save from Eoin Carberry confirmed all three points for Westmeath, who got their league campaign off to a winning start at Celtic Park yesterday.
John Heslin starred in the Lake County's attack with 1-7, but he found able support from the impressive Callum McCormack, who helped himself to 1-4 from play.
The first-half crackled with all the energy and enthusiasm of a first day back at school, as both sets of players vied for early season advantage and to catch the eye of their respective managers.
The visitors drew first blood, and in some style, with goals from Callum McCormack and Heslin (penalty) opening up a six-point lead after just six minutes.
Derry, with a strong breeze in their favour, volleyed back through points from Michael Bateson and James Kielt, before skipper Enda Lynn palmed home a goal for Derry in the 12th minute.
But again the Lake County responded, with star man Heslin at the heart of their scoring as he ended the first-half with a 1-4 tally.
Injury-time points from Peter Hagan and a second from the bullish Bateson reduced Derry's deficit, but they still trailed 2-7 to 1-7 at the break.
The feisty encounters continued well into the second-half and both sides were reduced to 14 men after the dismissals of James Dolan and James Kielt.
Westmeath, however, managed to keep their necks just ahead throughout, but had Enda Lynn converted that last-minute penalty it would have earned his side a share of the spoils.
He didn't, and Westmeath prevailed.
Scorers - Westmeath: J Heslin 1-7 (5 fs), C McCormack 1-4, L Loughlin and Ger Egan 0-2 each, K Martin, and R O'Toole 0-1 each. Derry: E Lynn 1-0, N Toner, 1-0, J Kielt 0-3 (2fs), M Bateson, E Bradley, C McFaul, D Tallon (2fs) and M Lynch(2fs) 0-2 each, P Hagan 0-1
WESTMEATH - E Carberry 9, M McCallon 6, K Daly 6, B Sayeh 7, N Mulligan 7, S Duncan 5, J Dolan 6, A Stone 6, R O'Toole 7, K Martin 7, J Heslin 9, G Egan 7, C McCormack 9, L Loughlin 7, J Egan 7. Subs: F Boyle 6 for K Daly (33), D Whelan 6 for R O'Toole (69)
DERRY - B McKinless 5, N Keenan 7, K Johnston 5, R Mooney 5, M Bateson 7, L McGoldrick 6, M McEvoy 6, C McAtamney 6, E Bradley 6, E Lynn 7, P Hagan 6, C McFaul 7, D Tallon 6, J Kielt 6, N Toner 6. Subs: C Doherty 5 for M McEvoy (49), M Lynch 6 for D Tallon (49)
Ref - J Molloy (Galway)