Murtagh Westmeath's driving force
A barrage of scores in the second half helped Westmeath to a flattering 18-point win over a limited Wicklow side in a scrappy tie at Mullingar on Saturday afternoon.
The home team led by 0-9 to 0-6 at the end of a poor first half.
Westmeath full-forward John Shaw had looked the classiest player on show prior to being forced off with an injury in the 23rd minute.
A goal by Paul Greville in the 43rd minute turned the contest firmly in Westmeath's favour, opening up a five-point gap.
A brace of goals from top scorer Brendan Murtagh further underlined their superiority. His first came in the 55th minute, from a rebound after he had untypically mishit a free, while his second, from a 25-metre free, arrived deep into added-time.
Wicklow finished the game with 14 men following Geoffrey Bermingham's dismissal for a second yellow-card offence in the 68th minute.
Man of the Match: J Gilligan (W'meath)
Scorers -- Westmeath: B Murtagh 2-9 (1-6f), P Greville 1-1, J Shaw 0-3, F Boyle 0-2, P Dowdall, C Boyle, A Clarke, A Dermody 0-1 each. Wicklow: A O'Brien 0-6 (5f, 1 '65'), E Kearns, R Keddy, E Glynn, T Doyle 0-1 each.
Westmeath -- S McGovern 6; P Dowdall 7, A McGrath 6, J Gilligan 8; P Gilsenan 6, E Price 7, A Mitchell 6; D Fennell 7, J Clarke 6; P Greville 6, A Clarke 6, B Murtagh 7; F Boyle 6, J Shaw 7, D Carty 6. Subs: D McCormack 7 for Shaw (inj, 23), C Boyle 6 for Fennell (40), C Jordan 6 for Gilsenan (40), A Dermody 6 for Carty (47), K Orme for Mitchell (65).
Wicklow -- J Murphy 6; Jim Connors 6, G Keogh 6, E Dunne 6; E O'Neill 5, B Cuddihy 6, G Bermingham 5; E Kearns 7, J Henderson 6; R Keddy 6, W O'Gorman 6, T Doyle 7; E Glynn 6, C Moorehouse 6, A O'Brien 7. Subs: P Farrell 5 for Moorehouse (34), John Connors 6 for Farrell (54), L Kennedy for Cuddihy (65).
ref -- J O'Mahony (Limerick).