Westmeath ensure their safety despite uneven display
Westmeath 0-20 Sligo 0-14
Westmeath avoided the relegation dogfight in Division 3 with a businesslike - but far from vintage - display against Sligo at TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.
Colin Kelly's charges didn't have it all their own way, however. Leading 0-9 to 0-4 after 24 minutes they then conceded from three consecutive kick-outs to let the Westerners back into it.
Corner forward Adrian Marren was particularly adept at punishing any Westmeath errors, kicking four sublime first half scores, but injury to the Curry man shortly before the break robbed Sligo of a potent threat.
Despite this setback and a 0-10 to 0-7 deficit at the interval, this young Sligo side didn't capitulate. Two frees from Liam Gaughan, as well as a score from sub Pat Hughes, left just a point between the sides with 15 minutes to go.
However, on 56 minutes, a terrific long-range effort from Westmeath wing back James Dolan dealt a huge psychological blow to the visitors, and the Maroons closed out the game on top, with John Heslin, Ger Egan and Kieran Martin all on target.
An improved Westmeath display will be demanded when high-flying Fermanagh come to Mullingar next weekend though.
Scorers - Westmeath: J Heslin 0-8 (7fs), G Egan 0-4, K Martin 0-3, L Loughlin 0-2, C McCormack, T McDaniel and J Dolan 0-1 each. Sligo: A Marren 0-4, L Gaughan (3fs) 0-3, A De vaney (1f, 1 '45') and N Murphy (1f) 0-2 each, P Hughes, P O'Connor and S Coen (f) 0-1 each.
Westmeath: E Carberry 7; M McCallon 7, F Boyle 6, K Daly 6; N Mulligan 6, A Stone 6, J Dolan 7; D Corroon 8, J Heslin 7; G Egan 7, T McDaniel 6, K Martin 7; L Loughlin 7, C McCormack n/r, J Egan 6. Subs: F Coyne 6 for McCormack (inj., 6), S Duncan 6 for Coyne (50), A Gardiner 6 for McDaniel (53), J Gonoud 6 for Corroon (57), D Lynch n/r for J Egan (63), R Wallace n/r for K Daly (inj., 68).
Sligo: A Devaney 7; R Donovan 7, L Nicholson 6, E McGuinness 6; D Cummins 6, A McIntyre 6, N Ewing 6; P O'Connor 7, K McDonnell 6; C Breheny 6, L Gaughan 7, S Carribine 6; K Cawley 6, N Murphy 7, A Marren 8. Subs: P Hughes 7 for Marren (inj., 35), C Harrison 6 for Breheny (39), K Cawley 7 for McGuinness (39), S Coen 6 for Cummins (49), P Kilcoyne n/r for Carribine (63).
Ref - P Maguire (Longford).