EARLY goals from Shane Lennon and Derek Maguire helped Louth get their Division 3 League campaign off to a flyer against Westmeath in Haggardstown last night.
Those strikes, which came within two minutes of each other at a time when they were playing against the elements, helped Peter Fitzpatrick's side into an early eight-point lead.
Two points from Lennon either side of an Adrian Reid point had the home side 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after nine minutes.
They then really seized the initiative with two goals in as many minutes. The first arrived on 11 minutes when Lennon raced onto a long punt forward from Dessie Finnegan to rifle to the net and before the Lake County had time to recover they were dealt a second blow when a defensive error was punished by Maguire, whose goal left it 2-3 to 0-1 after just 13 minutes.
Westmeath fought back and Denis Glennon and Conor Lynam hit two points apiece as Dolan's second score of the half saw them close the gap back to a single point at half-time-- 2-4 to 0-9. Louth though quickly put the game to bed on the restart with substitute Brian Donnelly setting them on their way with the first of four unanswered points.
Scorers -- Louth: S Lennon 1-7 (2f), D Maguire 1-0, A Reid 0-2, B Donnelly, R Finnegan, P Keenan, A McDonnell 0-1 each. Westmeath: Denis Glennon 0-3 (3f), D Dolan, C Lynam 0-2 each, P Greville (1f), David Glennon, J Heslin, F Wilson 0-1 each.
Louth: S Connor; D Byrne, A Hoey, G Hoey; R Finnegan, D Finnegan, S Fitzpatrick; P Keenan, R Carroll; D Crilly, M Brennan, A McDonnell; D Maguire, S Lennon, A Reid. Subs: B Donnelly for R Carroll ht; P Smith for D Maguire (61); JP Rooney for M Brennan (61); R Greene for A Reid (71).
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 Bannon for P Greville (65).
Referee: P McEnaney (Monaghan).