Westmeath off to losing start under Bealin
MEATH 1-12 WESTMEATH 0-7
PAUL BEALIN made a losing start as Westmeath football manager as Meath emerged victorious in Kells.
The 1995 Dublin All-Ireland- winning midfielder fielded a largely experimental team.
Meath also had several new faces in their line-up and Royals boss Mick O'Dowd should be satisfied with his team's display as he attempts to find replacements for Joe Sheridan, Brian Farrell and a number of others who were deemed surplus to requirements for the 2014 league campaign.
The game was played under the new rule changes, but referee Damien Brazil had no cause to issue a black card over the 70 minutes.
Damien Carroll and newcomer Seamus Mattimoe caught the eye in the Meath attack in the opening half as the hosts built up a 0-7 to 0-3 lead at the break.
Westmeath only managed a single point from play in that period and all of their scores came from full-forward Luke Loughran.
Paul Sharry opened the scoring for the visitors in the second half, but Westmeath failed to kick on from there as the accuracy of Carroll from placed balls and points from Cillian O'Sullivan and David Bray had Meath 0-11 to 0-6 ahead at the three-quarter stage.
Carroll had a penalty saved by Steven Gallagher on 58 minutes, but got the better of the him when fisting home a Conor Sheridan centre three minutes later.
Both managers will have another chance to run the rule over their panels next Sunday as Meath take on Offaly in the decider and Westmeath face Cavan in the shield final.
SCORERS – Meath: D Carroll 1-5 (4fs), S Mattimoe, D Lenihan 0-2 each, P Gilsenan, C O'Sullivan, D Bray 0-1 each. Westmeath: L Loughran (2fs), P Sharry (1f) 0-3 each, A Giles 0-1.
MEATH – C McHugh; C McPartland, S Curran, M Burke; N Shorthall, E Harrington, P Gilsenan; C Sheridan, A Tormey; S Gillespie, D Carroll, C O'Sullivan; S Mattimoe, D Bray, D Lenihan. Subs: S McEntee for Shorthall (40), J McEntee for Gillespie (57), A Flanagan for Sheridan (63), B Power for Harrington (63), Harrington for Gilsenan (65).
WESTMEATH – S Gallagher; J Gonoud, K McGuire, S Flynn; D Corroon, J Gilligan, J Dolan; D Duffy, R Connellan; P Sharry, S Daly, S Gilroy; T McDaniel, L Loughran, L Smith. Subs: C McCormack for Daly (39), C Martin for Gilroy (44), A Coffey for McDaniel (48), A Giles for Smith (53), R Foley for Corroon (61), D McGuinness for Loughran (61).
REF – D Brazil (Offaly)