With the 70 minutes completed the sides were level 2-20 each but in a quick breakaway a minute into added time Westmeath’s Brendan Murtagh lobbed over a point and from the puck out set up Eoin Price for a goal.
Westmeath ran into a 0-10 to 0-5 lead with Andrew Dermody, John Shaw, Dan Carty and Brendan Murtagh slotting over points. Paul Baniff, Caolan Bailie and Eoin Clarke kept Down in touch and Michael Ennis set up Danny Toner for a goal to end the half 1-9 to 0-12.
The second half was score for score and it took two brilliant saves by Westmeath substitute keeper Paddy Maloney from Conor Mageean and Danny Toner to keep the midlanders n the game until their late assault.
Scorers for Westmeath: E Price, D Carty 1-4 each, N O’Brien 1-0, B Murtagh 0-5 (1f), J Shaw, A Dermody 0-2 each, J Clarke, A Clarke, D McCormack, R Grenville 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: P Braniff 0-13 (11fs, 1 65), C Mageean 1-1, D Toner 1-0, C Bailie 0-2, M Ennis, E Clarke, D Hughes, F Conway 0-1 each.
WESTMEATH: S McGovern; P Fennell, A Price, C Jordon; P Gilsenan, J Gilligan, P Dowdall; E Price, J Clarke; B Murtagh, A Clarke, D McCormack; A Dermody, D Carty, J Shaw.
Subs: D Fennell for A Price (7), P Maloney for S McGovern (25), N O’Brien for P Dowdall (48), R Grenville for A Dermody (50), E Clarke for P Fennell (63).
DOWN: S Keith; M Hughes, S Ennis, J Smyth; F Conway, C Woods, M Ennis; E Clarke, A Savage; P Sheehan, D Hughes, C Bailie; D Toner, P Braniff, P Keith.
Subs: C Mageean for Keith (45); A O’Prey for Savage (60).
Referee: G Duffy (Antrim).