Westmeath 2-01 Down 2-07,
Down lead at half time in the Allianz National Hurling League Division 2 final, thanks to two late goals from half forward Paul Braniff.
Westmeath opened impressively in their bid to replace Offaly in the top flight, with an eighth minute goal for John Shaw, and three minutes later a second hammered to the Ulster side's net by Barry Kennedy.
Andrew Mitchell hit a 20th minute point for a 2-01 to 0-01 lead but Braniff's haul of 2-03 and points from Brendan McGourty and John Convery have given Down a six-point advantage.
WESTMEATH: M Briody, D Curley, B Murtagh, P Greville, D Gallagher, C Murtagh, D McCormack, P Williams, O Devine, R Whelan, V Bateman, A Mitchell; D Carty, J Shaw, B Kennedy.
DOWN: Graham Clarke; L Clarke, S Murray, E Dorrian; S Wilson, G Savage, Gabriel Clarke; A Savage, G Adair; G McGrattan, P Braniff, B McGourty; J Convery, G Johnston, Mick Braniff.
Mayo 2-10 London 2-11 FT