An exciting finish saw an already relegated Down side finish the league on a high after a hard-fought win in their final Division Two clash with Westmeath.
In a hectic second-half injury-time period, Down scored four unanswered points to come from behind for a win over the Lake County.
It was a much better performance from Westmeath, who started well and took an early lead through scores from Brendan Murtagh, Ciaran Curley and Ronan Whelan. Down replied and drew level in the twenty third minute through a well-taken Paul Braniff penalty. The lead was to change hands again before the interval after Murtagh scored 2 goals from free kicks to give the home side a 2-8 to 1-5 advantage.
The second-half started with more excitement and Down once again led after great work from Scott Nicholson set up Gareth Johnson for a great goal, before the impressive Murtagh completed his hat-trick for Westmeath to lead going into injury-time. Some poor decision making and hesitant defending allowed Johnson to grab his second goal before an amazing end to the game with Down claiming the win.
DOWN: K Keating; M Hughes, C Coulter, S Ennis; C O’Prey, J Merron, M Ennis; A Savage, K McGarry (0-1); B Ennis (0-5), S Clarke (0-1), J Coyle; S Nicholson (0-1), P Braniff (1-5, 1-0 pen, 0-5 frees), G Johnson (2-1, 0-1 free). Subs: C Mageean for Coyle (47 mins); D Hughes (1-0) for Braniff (inj, 56 mins), A Clarke for Nicholson (60 mins), A O’Prey for Coulter (inj, 67 mins).
WESTMEATH: C Scally; C Flanagan, D McCormack, A McGrath; E Price (0-2), A Mitchell, P Gilsenan; J Gilligan, N Flanagan; R Whelan (0-1), B Murtagh (3-9, 2-5 frees), C Curley (0-2), A Devine (0-1), N Dowdall, A Craig. Subs: C Mackey for Gilligan (56 mins), D Golden for McGrath (inj, 69 mins).