Apart from their great comeback, the main talking-point was the amount of yellow cards shown by referee Gary McCormack. Louth received 12, while Westmeath received six and one red, with the straight red being shown to Westmeath half-back Doron Harte in the 20th minute for striking out at Louth’s Jim McEneaney.
It appeared as though Louth would win this game when they led 2-6 to 0-7 six minutes into the second half. First half goals from Adrian Reid in the eighth minute and Colm Judge in the 19th minute enabled Louth to lead by 2-4 to 0-7 at half time.
Points by Jim McEneaney and Adrian Reid increased the visitors lead early in the second-half but Westmeath rallied to draw level by the 58th minute, 0-13 to 2-7, thanks to three excellent points from Callum McCormack, with Denis Glennon and sub Dessie Dolan also getting some good scores.
At this stage a 21m free which was kicked wide by McEneaney, was later to prove crucial, but Westmeath, despite being a man short, worked extremely hard with Ger Egan and Paul Sharry slogging tirelessly throughout.
With the sides still level entering the final three minutes, two well-struck long-range frees converted by John Heslin gave Westmeath a vital two-point lead and while Louth threw everything forward in an effort to rescue the game they could only manage a late consolation point by Shane Lennon.
Louth will be bitterly disappointed to have lost, while Westmeath can look forward to next week’s derby against Longford with confidence.
Scorers for Westmeath: C McCormack, J Heslin (5fs) 0-5 each, D Glennon 0-3, K Martin 0-2fs, D Dolan 0-1.
Scorers for Louth: S Lennon 0-4, A Reid 1-1, C Judge 1-0, J McEneaney (1f) 0-2, D Reid, A McDonnell 0-1 each.
WESTMEATH: G Connaughton; M McCallon, K Gavin, K Maguire; M Curley, P Sharry, D Harte; P Bannon, J Heslin; G Egan, C McCormack, K Martin; R Foley, J Dolan, Denis Glennon.
Subs: Dessie Dolan for P Bannon (42), D Corroon for R Foley (61), Damien Dolan for M Curley (61).
LOUTH: N Gallagher; P Rath, D Finnegan, G Hoey; J O’Brien, D Crilly, A Reid; R Carroll, B Donnelly; A McDonnell, J McEneaney, C Rafferty; C Judge, S Lennon, K Rogers.
Subs: D Reid for C Judge (24), P Keenan for R Carroll (ht), R Finnegan for C Rafferty (ht), P Smith for K Rogers (58).
Referee: Gary McCormack (Dublin).