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Fermanagh undone by a lethargic start

Westmeath 0-10 Fermanagh 0-08

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In vain: Conall Jones scored two points for Fermanagh

In vain: Conall Jones scored two points for Fermanagh

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

In vain: Conall Jones scored two points for Fermanagh

Fermanagh slipped to a second league defeat of the campaign in going down by two points to Westmeath in Mullingar yesterday.

The home side played with a strong wind at their backs in the first half and went in at the break with a 0-7 to 0-1 advantage.

Fermanagh did manage to close the gap back to two points but missed chances proved costly for Ryan McMenamin's side as 14-man Westmeath held on for the victory.

Westmeath came flying out of the blocks and Ronan O'Toole banged over a fine point from play before John Heslin tagged on two frees to give them a three-point lead with six minutes gone.

Fermanagh struggled to make any sort of impact in those early stages and the home side went on to increase their lead as David Lynch and Callum McCormack stretched the gap out to five points.

Indeed, it took Fermanagh 19 minutes to have their first shot, a Darragh McGurn effort that dropped wide, while Stephen McGullion had a shot at goal blocked.

Fermanagh finally opened their account in the 27th minute through a Conall Jones free but Westmeath answered straight away through another Heslin free and a Ray Connellan point from play to make it 0-7 to 0-1.

The Ernemen did have a goal chance late in the half but Ultan Kelm's drive was tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Jason Daly as the home side went in at the interval with a six-point lead.

The advantage was stretched to seven early in the second half when Heslin clipped over a free but Fermanagh then hit back and Shane McGullion, Aidan Breen and Stephen McGullion rattled off points to leave four points in it.

A second Connellan point kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home outfit while the same player also pulled a shot across the face of goal.

Westmeath were then reduced to 14 men when Luke Loughlin picked up a second yellow card and it required another good save by Daly to keep out Conall Jones.

Fermanagh did look to be in the ascendancy when Ryan Jones fired over two points and Breen also tagged on a point to leave two in it with 10 minutes to go but a Heslin free pushed Westmeath three ahead.

Fermanagh were guilty of wasting chances in the final period of the game, kicking four successive wides and also having another effort come back off the upright as they failed to eat into the Westmeath lead.

Conall Jones did slot over a free late on but it was not to be enough as Westmeath saw out the remainder of the contest to clinch the win.

Scorers: Westmeath: J Heslin (0-05, 5f), R Connellan (0-02), R O'Toole (0-01), D Lynch (0-01), C McCormack (0-01)

Fermanagh: C Jones (0-02, 2f), R Jones (0-02), A Breen (0-02), Shane McGullion (0-01), Stephen McGullion (0-01)

Belfast Telegraph