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Westmeath secure promotion and book Division 3 final berth with late draw against Louth

Jack Cooney’s side scored four of the game’s final six points to complete the comeback.

Louth's Ciaran Downey tackles Kevin Maguire of Westmeath.
Louth's Ciaran Downey tackles Kevin Maguire of Westmeath.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Louth 2-7

Westmeath 1-10

Caoimhin Reilly reports from Drogheda

WESTMEATH EARNED A place in Division Two of the National Football League this afternoon, courtesy of their draw with Louth in Drogheda.

Needing only a point to end their four-year exile from the second tier, Jack Cooney’s men summoned a second half fightback, registering four of the contest’s closing six points to book a final date against Laois next weekend.

Their second promotion in three seasons, the Midlanders trailed by two at the turnaround, 1-4 to 0-5, with Louth centre-forward Ciarán Downey pointing thrice early in the game to give his side control.

However, Westmeath fought back to level at three points apiece by the half’s midway point and felt they were harshly denied a goal in the midst of Louth’s strong opening – John Heslin’s flick to the net being harshly ruled out for a foul on Wee County ’keeper Fergal Sheekey.

But Louth were the better side in the first half and made their dominance count on 23 minutes when captain Bevan Duffy broke through after a patient team move and fired to the corner of the net.

Bevan Duffy celebrates scoring a goal Bevan Duffy finds the net for Louth. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Their lead was wiped out within five minutes of the second half getting underway, though, as Ger Egan converted a dubious-looking penalty.

It seemed Heslin had been fouled by Emmet Carolan outside the area, but referee Seán Laverty spread his arms wide and Egan kept his cool.

James Califf levelled for the hosts before Laverty awarded a second penalty in quick succession, this time to Louth after Califf had been impeded.

McEneaney duly buried his effort to the corner of the net, giving the Reds a 2-5 to 1-6 advantage.

But that 48th minute three-pointer would be the Wee County’s last score until stoppage time as Westmeath finished strongly, Egan, Denis Corroon, the excellent Luke Loughlin and Heslin registering.

Louth subsequently lost Tommy Durnin to a red card, only to tie the match through substitute Ryan Burns.

Though Westmeath held on, earning their fourth promotion of the decade.

Scorers for Louth: Ciarán Downey 0-3 (0-1f), Bevan Duffy 1-0, Jim McEneaney 1-0 (1-0 pen), Sam Mulroy 0-1 (0-1f), Ryan Burns 0-1, James Califf 0-1

Scorers for Westmeath: Ger Egan 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-4f), Luke Loughlin 0-3, Sam Duncan 0-1, Denis Corroon 0-1, John Heslin 0-1,

Louth

1. Fergal Sheekey (Dundalk Young Irelands)

2. Fergal Donohoe (Newtown Blues)
3. Emmet Carolan (Newtown Blues)
4. James Craven (Geraldines)

5. Anthony Williams (Dreadnots)
6. Bevan Duffy (St. Fechin’s)
7. John Clutterbuck (Naomh Máirtín)

8. Tommy Durnin (Westerns)
9. James Califf (Dreadnots)

10. Conor Branigan (Newtown Blues)
11. Ciarán Downey (Newtown Blues)
12. Jim McEneaney (Geraldines)

13. Andy McDonnell (Newtown Blues)
14. Sam Mulroy (Newtown Blues)
15. Declan Byrne (St. Mochta’s)

Subs:
25. Ryan Burns (Hunterstown Rovers) for Byrne (47)
23. Eoghan Duffy (St. Fechin’s) for McDonnell (51)
21. Conor Early (Oliver Plunkett’s) for Califf (57)
26. Ross Nally (Newtown Blues) for Mulroy (61)
24. Conall McKeever (Clan na Gael) for McEneaney (65)

Westmeath

1. Eoin Carberry (Rosemount)

3. Ronan Wallace (Multyfarnham)
5. Kevin Maguire (Caulry)
4. Boidu Sayeh (Rosemount)

7. James Dolan (Garrycastle)
6. Frank Boyle (Killucan)
2. Killian Daly (Mullingar Shamrocks)

8. Sam Duncan (Milltownpass)
9. Denis Corroon (Mullingar Shamrocks)

10. Jack Smith (Skerries Harps)
15. Ger Egan (Tyrrellspass)
13. Ronan O’Toole (St. Loman’s, Mullingar)

14. Kieran Martin (Maryland)
12. Luke Loughlin (The Downs)
11. John Heslin (St. Loman’s, Mullingar)

Subs:
18. Noel Mulligan (Athlone) for Smith (31)
23. Joe Halligan (Milltown) for Loughlin (70)

Referee: Seán Laverty (Antrim).

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