McPadden clinches victory for Offaly
Offaly 0-8 Westmeath 0-7:Offaly qualified for the semi-finals with a one-point win in a poor game at Mullingar yesterday afternoon.
Wintry conditions contributed to long bouts of scrappy play in front of just over 1,000 spectators.
Injuries meant that Westmeath lost the services of both their best-known forwards, Dessie Dolan and Denis Glennon, in the opening half-hour.
However, with Paul Sharry excelling as an attacking centre half back, the home side still looked the stronger and deservedly led by 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.
Inspired by a great point within 15 seconds of the restart by the hitherto-subdued Niall McNamee, Offaly took the game to their hosts on the change of ends and they had tied up the scoring at 0-6 each by the 47th minute. Paul Bannon soon restored Westmeath’s lead with a fine point, but they failed to add to their tally in the time remaining, while Offaly kicked two further points, the second of which from substitute Paul McPadden in the 68th minute proved to be the winning score of a drab contest.