Westmeath had to win to avoid relegation and their hopes were boosted by a 28th minute punched goal by substitute Paul Greville. Greville was only on the pitch eight minutes, having replaced John Heslin (black card) when he fisted a Shane Dempsey pass to the back of the net.
That goal brought Westmeath level at 1-1 to 0-4 after Offaly had started the brighter and led with points from Eoin Carroll, Graham Guilfoyle, Niall McNamee, and Michael Brazil, in response to Kieran Martin who had opened Westmeath’s account in the seventh minute.
Offaly then edged two in front thanks to points from Nigel Dunne and Johnny Moloney, but Westmeath equalised with frees from Ger Egan and Paul Greville.
However Offaly, who played with a strong wind in the first half, had the final score of the half to lead 0-7 to 1-3 at the interval.
Westmeath, with the wind, scored the opening three points of the second half through Greville, Shane Dempsey, and Callum McCormack while Offaly went 25 minutes without a score before Joe Maher converted a free.
In a tense finish, superb points from Ger Egan and James Dolan left Tom Cribbin’s side three in front, with Anton Sullivan reducing the deficit for Offaly. Shane Dempsey then pointed for distance for Westmeath and only some fine defending by Dolan, Paddy Holloway, and Kevin Maguire denied Offaly late scores and Westmeath held on for a crucial victory.
Westmeath must now beat Longford on Sunday to retain their Division Three status while Offaly will face Limerick in their final game.
P Greville 1-2, (0-1 free), G Egan 0-2 (0-1 free), S Dempsey 0-2, K Martin 0-1, C McCormack 0-1, J Dolan 0-1.
Anton Sullivan 0-2, E Carroll 0-1, G Guilfoyle 0-1, N McNamee 0-1, M Brazil 0-1, N Dunne 0-1 free, J Moloney 0-1, J Maher 0-1 free.
D Quinn; K Daly, F Boyle K Maguire; J Dolan, P Holloway, D Lynch; D Corroon, D Daly; K Martin, J Heslin, R Connellan; G Egan, C McCormack, S Dempsey.
P Greville for J Heslin (black card, 20), S Flanagan for K Martin (59), J Egan for C McCormack (61), A Stone for R Connellan (black card, 66), R Foley for S Dempsey (69).
A Mulhall; B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender; N Darby, J Moloney, J O’Connor; E Carroll, J Gettings; G Guifoyle, M Brazil, S Doyle; C McNamee, N Dunne, N McNamee.
J Maher for S Doyle (27), A Sullivan for C McNamee (29), N Smith for J Gettings (51), P Cunningham for N Dunne (53), W Mulhall for G Guilfoyle (61), N Bracken for M Brazil (63), N Smith (black card, 69).
Kevin Murphy (Cork).