Ryan inspires Clare
Clare had seven points to spare over Westmeath at Cusack Park, Ennis on Saturday.
The Banner had the winning posts firmly in their sights at half-time, leading by 3-12 to 1-6, but a poor second-half performance by the home side in the second-half coupled with a never-say-die attitude from the Lake County men after the break, gave Clare manager Ger O'Loughlin food for thought.
Clare rattled the Westmeath net after just five minutes with a Diarmuid McMahon goal and two more were to follow before the interval through the hard-working Jonathan Clancy and the sharp and incisive Colin Ryan.
An additional, late Clare goal by sub Martin 'Ogie' Murphy gave them the cushion to achieve the win despite Andrew Mitchell grabbing a third Westmeath goal at the death, from another 20m free.
Scorers -- Clare: C Ryan 1-9 (0-8f), J Clancy 1-3, C O'Donovan, M Murphy 1-0 each, J Conlan 0-3, D McMahon 0-2, P Donnellan, D Barrett (0-1) each. Westmeath: A Mitchell 2-5 (2-4f, 0-1 '65), B Murtagh 0-5 (0-1f), D Carthy 0-3, P Granville 1-0, D McNicholas, P Dowdall (0-1) each.
Clare -- D Tuohy; P Vaughan, C Dillon, G O'Grady; D O'Donovan, J McInerney, P Donnellan; J Clancy, B Bugler; S Collins, J Conlon, C O'Donovan; D McMahon, M Flaherty, C Ryan. Subs: D Barrett for Flaherty (h-t), D Ryan for O'Grady (h-t), M Murphy for Bugler(46), J Cusack for Collins (62), C Cooney for Vaughan (64).
Westmeath -- B McLoughlin; C Jordan, A Price, P Greville; J Shaw, A Mitchell, D McCormack; E Price, L Smyth; J Clarke, D McNicholas. A Dowdall; C Curley, B Murtagh, D Carthy. Subs: N Flanagan for Clarke (h-t), G Gavin for Curley (46), R Jackson for Shaw (65).
Ref -- T Ryan (Tipperary).