Substitute Jerome Johnston’s last-gasp free handed Down a battling 0-10 to 0-9 win against Westmeath in Newry.
The hosts were reduced to 14 men when full forward Pat Tavern was shown red following an incident involving visiting goalkeeper Eoin Carberry twelve minutes from the break, home custodian Rory Burns having denied Ger Egan from the penalty spot in the 16th minute.
Ryan Johnston and Egan traded the only two points of the opening quarter and the Lake County led by the odd point from nine at the short whistle thanks to Ronan O’Toole’s injury-time strike.
Egan and Sam Duncan took turns to cancel out Ryan Johnston points when the action resumed; Egan restored Westmeath’s lead with six minutes left but late frees from Donal O’Hare and half-time replacement Jerome Johnston in the 68th and 73rd minutes respectively got Paddy Tally’s charges over the line – the second successive weekend that they’ve bagged a stoppage-time winner!
Down - R Burns; D O'Hagan, R Wells, G Collins; S Fegan, C Flanagan, J Flynn; C Mooney, C Poland (0-1); C Francis, P Devlin, K McKernan (0-1); R Johnston (0-3), P Havern, D O’Hare (0-4, 3f). Subs: D Guinness for C Francis, C Harrision for P Devlin, C McGrady for J Flynn, C Maginn for S Fegan, J Johnston (0-1f) for C Harrison.
Westmeath - E Carberry; J Dolan (0-1), R Wallace, B Sayeh (0-1); N Mulligan, F Boyle, K Daly; D Corroon, S Duncan (0-2); J Gonoud, K Martin, R O’Toole (0-1); L Loughlin (0-1), T McDaniels, G Egan (0-3f). Subs: C McCormack for T McDaniels, F Coyne for S Duncan, D Lynch for F Boyle, J Halligan for D Corroon.
Referee - D Gough.