Westmeath end 32 years of hurt to secure promotion
A close encounter in Ennis saw the home side come out on top
Westmeath’s Killian Doyle was in outstanding form as they beat Kerry. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Westmeath 0-12 Kerry 0-10
A gutsy display when aided by a strong wind in the second half saw Westmeath’s senior hurlers bridge a 32-year gap by qualifying for Division 1 in 2020 with a two-point win against Kerry in very difficult conditions in Ennis.
Westmeath started brightly with two early points but, with Shane Conway on form for the Kingdom, wind-assisted Kerry fully deserved their interval lead of 0-9 to 0-4, the first half also noteworthy for a change of referees in the 19th minute.
The gap was still five points after 45 minutes following a point exchange between Darragh Clinton and Padraig Boyle. However, with Killian Doyle in outstanding form, including a 90-metre free conversion at the end of the third quarter, Joe Quaid’s troops ate into their opponents’ advantage. A point from substitute Derek McNicholas edged Westmeath ahead for the first time in the 59th minute and, despite late Kerry pressure, the midlanders held on for a deserved win.
WESTMEATH: A McHugh; D Egerton, T Doyle, G Greville; C Shaw, P Greville, A Clarke; C Boyle, S Clavin; R Greville, K Doyle (0-6, two frees), J Boyle; A Devine (0-1, free), N Mitchell (0-3, three frees), D Clinton (0-1).
Subs: D McNicholas (0-1) for Mitchell (44 mins), J Galvin for Clinton (53), A Craig for P Greville (67), C Doyle for Boyle (70+3).
KERRY: J B O’Halloran; S Weir, B Murphy, J O’Connor; P Costello, J Diggins, F MacKessy; D Collins (0-1), B Barrett; M O’Leary, S Conway (0-6, four frees), P Boyle (0-2); J Goulding (0-1, lineball), M Boyle, J Conway.
Subs: D Goggin for M Boyle (51 mins), T O’Connor for Costello (62), D Griffin for J Conway (66), J Buckley for Weir (70+3).
Referees: R McGann (Clare) and N Wall (Cork).