Armagh - 1-11, Westmeath - 2-6


Armagh, leading from start to finish, were made to fight all the way before getting back to winning ways with this hard earned victory over Westmeath at Cusack Park, Mullingar yesterday. Armagh could not have wished for a better start. Barry Duffy punched the ball to the net in the 13th minute and they raced into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead after 20 minutes.

The home side, who failed to convert a penalty in the third minute when Thomas Cleary's shot was saved by goalkeeper Brendan Tierney, got back into the game with goals from Kenny Lyons and Mark Staunton in the 21st and 30th minutes.

Playing a more direct brand of football, Armagh held a slight edge in the second half as they built up a three-point advantage. Yet they were unable to put the opposition away. Indeed the Westmeath forwards must surely rue their inaccuracy in front of goal as they kicked 10 wides to just two for the winners.

Armagh: B Tierney; E McNulty, G Reid, M McNeill; M McQuillan, J McNulty, A McCann; J Burns, P McGrane; J McEntee (0-2), B O'Hagan (0-3), D Marsden (0-4); G Houlahan (0-1), B Duffy (1-0), O McConville (0-1). Subs: N Smith for Houlahan, T McEntee for Reid, A O'Neill for Duffy.

Westmeath: D Ryan; D Brady , D Murphy, D Healy; D Keane, J Murray (0-1), M Broder; J Cooney (0-1), P Conway; J Deehan, T Cleary (0-2), M Staunton (1-0); C Keane (0-2), K Lyons (1-0), M O'Reilly. Subs: A Collins for D Keane, M Flanagan for Deehan, J Fleming for C Keane.

Referee: S McHale (Mayo).