FIRST-HALF strikes from a potent full-forward pairing of Shane Lennon and Derek Maguire proved crucial as Louth opened their league campaign with a win over Westmeath in Haggardstown on Saturday night.
Their short passing approach worked a treat and Lennon fired the opening goal to the roof of Darren Quinn's net on 10 minutes.
Maguire extended their advantage to eight points with a sublime finish to the top corner 90 seconds later, but Westmeath eventually found their rhythm and whittled the deficit down to the minimum by half-time.
However, Louth reeled off four points without reply in the first eight minutes of the second period and were always in control thereafter.
SCORERS -- Louth: S Lennon 1-7 (2f), D Maguire 1-0, A Reid 0-2, R Finnegan, P Keenan, A McDonnell, B Donnelly 0-1 each. Westmeath: Denis Glennon 0-3 (3f), C Lynam, D Dolan 0-2 each, J Heslin, P Greville (1f), F Wilson, David Glennon 0-1 each.
LOUTH -- S Connor; D Byrne, A Hoey, G Hoey; R Finnegan, D Finnegan, S Fitzpatrick; P Keenan, R Carroll; A McDonnell, M Brennan, D Crilly; D Maguire, S Lennon, A Reid. Subs: B Donnelly for R Carroll (h-t), P Smith for D Maguire (61), JP Rooney for M Brennan (61), R Greene for A Reid (70).
WESTMEATH -- D Quinn; J Gaffey, R English, K Maguire; F Boyle, K Gavin, C Jordan; J Heslin, B Murtagh; C Lynam, Denis Glennon, G Egan; P Greville, David Glennon, D Dolan. Subs: K Martin for K Gavin (25), D Harte for C Jordan (39), D Corroon for B Murtagh (47), F Wilson for Denis Glennon (59), P Brennan for J Greville (65).
REF -- P McEnaney (Monaghan).