Allianz Football League Division 2: Westmeath 0-5 Meath 0-17
This Leinster derby failed to take off as Meath, without ever finding top gear, ran out comfortable 12-point winners at Cusack Park.
Westmeath’s challenge faltered considerably after Michael Ennis was sent-off in the 53rd minute for a second bookable offence. In truth, they were poor before that too.
By that stage the Royals were already well on course to their second Allianz Football League victory, and the introduction of player-selector Graham Geraghty was another welcome sight for the travelling fans.
Cian Ward pointed Meath ahead after just 14 seconds and a brace from Stephen Bray made it 0-3 to 0-0. Westmeath responded with an angled free from Kieran Martin.
Alan Giles (free), Ennis and Callum McCormack added to the home side’s tally, but midfielders Brian Meade and Mark Ward were able to provide the possession which saw Meath build a match-winning lead.
The Lakesiders were 0-10 to 0-4 adrift at the break with Meath registering further points through Seamus Kenny, Bray, Ward, Cormac McGuinness and Graham Reilly (0-3), without really breaking sweat.
Westmeath goalkeeper Gary Connaughton kept his side in contention with terrific second half saves, denying both Reilly and Geraghty, but a healthy spread of points were enough for Meath on the day.
Connaughton produced a top class stop to keep out a lobbed shot from Geraghty who was an unused substitute in his side's home win over Monaghan last time out.
WESTMEATH: G Connaughton, A Finnan, K Gavin, D McDermott, R Foley, M Ennis (0-01), K Maguire, T English, P Bannon, P Sharry, D Glennon, P Sheridan, A Giles (0-01, 0-01f), K Martin (0-02, 0-01f), C McCormack (0-01).
Subs used: D Daly for English (44 mins), K Sheridan for Bannon (47), M Gorman for Giles (49), B Moran for Glennon (58), A Stone for Sharry (60).
MEATH: D Gallagher, B Menton, C Lenihan (0-1), G O'Brien, S McAnarney (0-1), M Burke, C McGuinness (0-1), B Meade (0-2), M Ward (0-1), C O'Connor, S Bray (0-5, 0-2f), G Reilly (0-3), P Gilsenan, S Kenny (0-1), C Ward (0-2, 0-1 '45').
Subs used: J Sheridan for C Ward (45 mins), G Geraghty for Gilsenan (54), K Reilly for O'Brien (60), D Tobin for Lenihan (63), C King for Burke (68).
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois)