Impressive Down seal top spot by hammering Westmeath
Down cemented top spot in Division 2 with a hammering of Westmeath in Mullingar.
Down opened the scoring after just 55 seconds when Mark Poland got the opening of his three first-half efforts. Arthur McConville added a second in the third minute as Down began to assert their authority on proceedings.
Westmeath replied with their first score in the 10th minute through Callum McCormack but it was Down dominance that followed as they hit the next four scores without reply with McConville and Poland getting their second points along with further scores from Burren duo Donal O'Hare and Kevin McKernan.
While John Heslin replied from a free, Poland, Conor Laverty and Darragh O'Hanlon extended Down's lead to seven, 0-9 to 0-2. Shane Dempsey pulled another back and McCormack tagged on a 45 to close the gap to five.
Heslin brought it back to four three minutes after the break but Laverty fisted over before McConville and O'Hare found the net either side of another Laverty point. O'Hare and Dempsey traded scores before Laverty and Paul Devlin pointed either side of a black card for Westmeath captain Ger Egan.
Things got worse as Kevin Maguire was shown a second yellow before Dempsey and Heslin pulled the deficit back as Kevin McKernan was black carded for Down. O'Hare (2) and O'Hanlon tagged on further points for Down to round off an easy day.
Westmeath: G Connaughton; M McCallon, K Maguire, K Daly; J Gonoud, K Martin, P Holloway; P Sharry, J Heslin (0-4, all frees); D Daly, G Egan, R Connellan (0-1); L Smith, C McCormack (0-2, 1'45, D Glennon. Subs: D McCormack for Daly (3mins), S Dempsey (0-2) for Smith (28mins), F Boyle for Holloway (35mins), J Gilligan for Egan (Black Card - 56mins), J Connellan for C McCormack (58mins)
Down: S Kane; G Collins, L Howard, D Turley; P Devlin (0-1, free), D O'Hanlon (0-2), C Maginn; P Turley, R Mallon; C McGovern, K McKernan (0-1), M Poland (0-3); C Laverty (0-4), A McConville (1-2), D O'Hare (1-4, 1f). Subs: M Magee for Mallon (58mins), C Mooney for Poland (61mins), A Carr for McKernan (Black Card - 61mins), J Johnston for McConville (63mins), P Downey for P Turley (67mins), R McGarry for Laverty (70mins)
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).