Allianz FL D2: Westmeath claim victory
Allianz Football League Division Two
WESTMEATH 2-9 CLARE 1-11
By Conor McKenna at TEG Cusack Park
Westmeath opened their league campaign with a narrow one-point victory over Clare.
The Banner were four points down with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, but Colm Collinss charges scored four points in succession to level the game late on, before a 76th minute John Heslin free secured the victory for the hosts.
Clare will rue a 27-minute spell in the opening half where they failed to score, as the Munster side were on top in the early stages, but Westmeaths two goals came at crucial times,
Westmeath opened the scoring with a John Heslin free, before David Tubridys effort levelled proceedings.
Clare scored the games first goal after five minutes, which came from Gavin Cooney, to give his side a three point advantage.
Tubridy scored his second free after seven minutes to stretch his sides lead to four before a free from Heslin left three between the teams.
Jack Cooneys side found the net for the games first goal in the 16th minute, as Anthony McGivney found the target, after a great piece of play from Ray Connellan.
Points from Connellan and Callum McCormack left two between the sides, before Tubridy scored his third free on the stroke of half time.
Kevin Maguire scored a point in additional time but Clare were dealt a major blow when Dermot Coughlan was shown a black card and sent to the sin-bin following a foul on Ronan OToole.
Westmeath held a 1-5 to 1-3 lead at the break and they started the second half smartly with scores from Lorcan Dolan and Heslin giving the home side a four point lead.
Clare responded with two points in succession to leave two between the teams, before Jack Smith found the net after 48 minute, to give his side a five-point lead.
Tubridy replied with two frees, before a Ray Connellans effort settle the hosts, though Clare responded with three successive scores to leave just one between the sides.
Killian Daly and Alan Sweeney were both shown straight red cards in the 70th minute, before a Dermot Coughlan score leveled the game deep into additional time.
John Heslin stepped up for a free after Tommy McDaniel was fouled and the Westmeath forward made no mistake with the place-ball effort to put his side in front after 75 minutes.
Westmeath held on for a one point win and will travel to Cavan next Saturday evening, while Clare are at home to Kildare next Sunday.
Scorers for Westmeath: John Heslin 0-4 3fs, Anthony McGivney 1-0, Jack Smith 1-0, Ray Connellan 0-2, Callum McCormack 0-1, Kevin Maguire 0-1, Lorcan Dolan 0-1,
Scorers for Clare: David Tubridy 0-8 7fs, Gavin Cooney 1-0, Eoin Cleary 0-1 1f, Keelan Sexton 0-1, Dermot Coughlan 0-1
WESTMEATH: Eoin Carberry; Jack Smith, Kevin Maguire, Boidu Sayeh; Killian Daly, Ronan Wallace, James Dolan; Denis Corroon, Ray Connellan; Anthony McGivney, John Heslin, David Lynch; Callum McCormack, Ronan OToole, Lorcan Dolan.
Subs: Conor Slevin for McGivney 56, Thomas McDaniel for Callum McCormack 59, Luke Loughlin for Lorcan Dolan 68, Conor Coughlan for David Lynch 68.
CLARE: Stephen Ryan; Kevin Harnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Sean Collins, Pearse Lillis, Dean Ryan; Ciaran Russell, Cathal OConnor; Cian ODea, Eoin Cleary, Dermot Coughlan; Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Keelan Sexton.
Subs: Alan Sweeney for Dean Ryan 54, Cormac Murray for Gavin Cooney 54, Eoin Collins for Sean Collins 68, Ciaran Downes for Cathal OConnor 69, Dale Masterson for Ciaran Russell 704.
REFEREE: Niall Cullen Fermanagh.