Kildare sign off league campaign with another impressive win
Win over Westmeath leaves the Lilywhites in good from ahead of Leinster Championship
Kildare manager Jack O’Connor after his team’s win over Westmeath. Photograph: Inpho
Kildare 0-16 Westmeath 0-11
Kildare secured their second win since the resumption of games but it wasn’t enough to earn promotion to Division 1 as results elsewhere didn’t fall their way.
Still, to finish the league in third place on eight points is a good effort from Jack O’Connor’s team considering they lost three of their first four games and at one stage were staring at relegation.
A spell of four points in a row during the first half, two from Darragh Kirwan, pushed Kildare 0-6 to 0-3 ahead and it was a lead they held for the remainder of the game. Kildare led 0-8 to 0-5 at half time but Westmeath knew a win for them could open the possibility of promotion and they pushed hard early in the second half.
They scored three points in a row either side of the water break, two from the again excellent Jimmy Hyland, to move into a 0-12 to 0-7 lead.
With nothing left to lose, and with news of Clare getting back on level terms with Armagh filtering through, Westmeath began to push forward and two points from John Heslin and another from Ger Egan got them back to within two points with 10 minutes to go.
That, however, was as close as they got and as Armagh pulled away in Ennis to extinguish any remaining hopes of promotion, Kildare got back on top in Newbridge and finished the game by scoring four of the last five points to ensure they are in tip-top form heading into the Championship season.
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O’Grady (0-2), Eoin Doyle, Shea Ryan, Con Kavanagh, Kevin Flynn; Kevin Feely (0-1 mark), Aaron Masterson (0-1); David Hyland, Paddy Brophy, Fergal Conway, Ben McCormack (0-1), Darragh Kirwan (0-2, 0-1 mark), Jimmy Hyland (0-5, 0-3 frees). Subs: Darragh Malone for Doyle (17 mins); Paul Cribbin (0-1) for Conway (51 mins); Neil Flynn (0-3 frees) for McCormack (51 mins); Liam Power for K Flynn (53 mins); Luke Flynn for Brophy (65 mins).
WESTMEATH: Jason Daly; Jack Smith (0-1), Ronan Wallace, Boidu Sayeh, Jamie Gonoud, Kevin Maguire, James Dolan; Ray Connellan, Sam Duncan (0-1); Luke Loughlin (0-1), Ronan O’Toole (0-2), Paddy Holloway, Ger Egan (0-2), John Heslin (0-4, 0-3 frees), Kieran Martin. Subs: Killian Daly for Holloway (33 mins); Brandon Kelly for Daly (65 mins); Lorcan Dolan for Egan (70 mins); Alex Gardiner for Egan (70 mins).
Referee: Ciaran Branagan.