Offaly ended Westmeath's reign as O'Byrne Cup champions thanks to a dominant second half performance in today's semi-final at Bord na Mona O'Connor Park.
Bernard Allen converted eight frees for the Faithful County who led by 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time, despite playing against the wind. In contrast to the hosts, Westmeath fielded a weakened team with key forwards Kieran Martin and John Heslin being replaced before the throw-in by Noel O'Reilly and Lorcan Dolan.
The sides were level six times in the first half before Westmeath edged into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead. But Offaly scored the last three points of the half and remained on the front-foot after the restart when they surged into a 0-13 to 0-7 lead before Jack Cooney's men narrowed the gap in the final quarter.
Offaly can now look forward to a final meeting with Longford next weekend.
Offaly - P Dunican (0-1f); D Dempsey, E Rigney, N Darby; E Carroll, S Nally, J Hayes (0-2); C Mangan (0-1), M Brazil; C McNamee, R McNamee (0-1), J Dempsey; C Johnson (0-1), B Allen (0-8f), A Sullivan. Subs: C Donohue for J Dempsey, R McEvoy for C McNamee, N Darby for S Nally, C Farrell (0-2, 1f) for A Sullivan, A Leavy for M Brazil, C Donnelly for R McNamee.
Westmeath - J Daly; C Slevin, K Maguire, B Sayeh; K Daly, R Wallace, J Dolan; D Corroon, N Mulligan; N O’Reilly, Conor McCormack (0-2, 1f), A McGivney; D Lynch, L Dolan (0-2), Callum McCormack (0-5, 3f). Subs: C Coughlan for N Mulligan, A Neary (0-1) for N O’Reilly, A Stone for Conor McCormack, L Loughlin (0-1f) for J Dolan, E Carberry for J Daly, C Dillon for A McGivney, S Connolly for C Slevin, N Scally for Callum McCormack.
Referee - D Fedigan.Tweet