THE sending off of Daithi Waters after 41 minutes proved crucial as Wexford, dominant up to then, crumbled in the closing minutes to hand Westmeath a 4-12 to 0-16 win in NFL Division 2 at Wexford Park yesterday.
Westmeath are now virtually assured of promotion. However, the home side delivered all the positive football up to Waters' dismissal.
They led by two points at the interval and had moved into a 0-13 to 1-6 lead when Waters was given a straight red card by referee Brian O'Shea after a rather innocuous push on fellow midfielder John Heslin.
Immediately after the dismissal, Wexford moved into a five-point lead but could only muster a further two points for the remaining 27 minutes.
Wexford controlled most of the opening period to lead 0-11 to 1-6 at the interval, with points from Denis Glennon and Callum McCormack keeping the Midlanders in touch. After the sending off, Westmeath still had to wait until the 52nd minute for their opening second half score, a Heslin pointed free.
Westmeath got the break when David Murphy was penalised for a foul on sub Dessie Dolan, with Heslin slotting home the resulting penalty on 55 minutes, leaving just the minimum separating the sides, 0-14 to 2-7.
With five minutes remaining, Dolan put Denis Glennon through for a goal, making it 3-8 to 0-16, before Glennon shot a further goal to help secure the win.
WEXFORD (U-21 FC v Longford) - M O'Toole; D Foley, T Cullen, S Corrigan; J Kelly, D O'Keefe, A Cash; C Kehoe, L Chin; E Shiely, G Cullen, J Tubritt; L Devereux, A Tobin, R Dempsey.