Westmeath have been crowned Allianz League Division 2A champions after edging out Carlow in a disappointing final at a wet and windy O'Connor Park, Tullamore.
Brendan Murtagh hit 0-7 while Tommy Doyle was outstanding at full back as the Lake County made amends for their defeat to Kerry in last year's decider. They will now face the losers of next weekend's relegation playoff between Kerry and Laois in Tralee for a place in Division 1B next season.
Michael Ryan's charges laid the foundations for their victory in the first half when they took a 0-9 to 0-3 lead into the break after playing with the aid of a strong wind. When Murtagh converted a free to extend their lead to 0-10 to 0-3 on the restart, Westmeath looked on course for a comfortable win, but they wouldn't score again as the accurate free-taking of Kevin McDonald brought the Barrowsiders - who beat the Lake County in the final regulation round six days ago - back to within two points.
In a scrappy contest which produced over 40 frees and eight yellow cards, Westmeath scored three unanswered points late in the first half to give themselves a decent buffer at the interval.
With the elements behind them, Carlow needed a good start to the second half, but it took them 15 minutes to register their first score through midfielder James Doyle. Frees from Martin Kavanagh and McDonald gradually narrowly the gap thereafter, but they never looked like getting a goal as Westmeath held on.
Westmeath - P Maloney; S Power, T Doyle, T Gallagher; A Craig, A Clarke, A McGrath; C Boyle (0-1), G Greville; A Devine (0-1), L Varley, D McNicholas; R Greville, B Murtagh (0-7, 5f, 2'65), E Price (0-1). Subs: N O'Brien for D McNicholas, N Dowdall for R Greville, D Egerton for A Devine.
Carlow - J Barron; G Coady, M Ryan, A Corcoran; D Byrne, D English, J O'Hara; J Doyle (0-1), J Kavanagh; K McDonald (0-4f), M Kavanagh (0-3, 2f), Sean Murphy; J M Nolan, Seamus Murphy, S Whelan. Subs: R Kelly for S Whelan, R Smithers for Sean Murphy.
Referee - J Keane.