Joe McDonagh Cup

Westmeath 2-28 1-24 Kerry

Páirc an Chrócaigh
Sean Cleere
Extra Time if Necessary
Joe McDonagh Cup Final: Westmeath win silverware
Westmeath's Niall Mitchell celebrates at Croke Park.

Joe McDonagh Cup Final: Westmeath win silverware

Joe McDonagh Cup Final


Final defeats in this competition in 2018 and 2019 hurt Westmeath deeply so this victory in GAA headquarters brought immense joy and satisfaction.

There was so much to admire about the manner in which Shane O'Brien's charges seized the initiative at the outset of this high stakes encounter.

Prompted by Darragh Egerton's determination, Robbie Greville's midfield industry and with Davy Glennon supplying the crafty touches in attack, Westmeath controlled the majority of the opening half.

Greville's pass enabled Niall Mitchell to plunder a second minute goal for Westmeath, who quickly responded to a Barry O'Mahony point.

Mitchell's crisp finish gave Westmeath an ideal start, but Kerry did battle back into the reckoning.

With Padraig Boyle prominent Kerry demonstrated plenty of ability to restore parity by the 19th minute at 1-7 to 0-10.

The remainder of the half, though, belonged to Westmeath, who dictated the tone and tempo.

That was chiefly due to the excellence of Greville at centrefield, while further up the pitch Glennon, Mitchell, and the Doyles were causing Kerry significant bother.

Six of the next eight points were struck by Westmeath, who edged 1-13 to 0-12 clear before Padraig Boyle narrowed the deficit.

Gaining in belief and momentum, Westmeath then mined 1-3 without reply including a 35th minute goal from Ciaran Doyle.

Egerton won possession bravely and the sliotar was moved swiftly inside to Ciaran Doyle, who planted a brilliant goal.

Shane Conway replied with a point for Kerry, but Westmeath's interval advantage, 2-16 to 0-14, was healthy.

When the action recommenced Westmeath remained in the ascendancy as Killian Doyle, Greville, Mitchell, and Aaron Craig all fired over scores as O'Brien's charges moved 11 points ahead.

Kerry, with Cian Hussey a threat inside, did narrow the gap and Mikey Boyle's 60th minute goal had the gap down to five, 2-23 to 1-21.

Westmeath weren't overly concerned, closing out the deal impressively ensuring silverware was attained.

Scorers for Westmeath: Niall Mitchell 1-4, Killian Doyle 0-6 (3fs), Davy Glennon 0-5, Ciaran Doyle 1-2, Robbie Greville 0-4, Aonghus Clarke, Niall O'Brien (1f) and Derek McNicholas (2fs) 0-2 each, Aaron Craig and Joey Boyle 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kerry: Padraig Boyle 0-7 (3fs), Mikey Boyle 1-3, Shane Conway 0-4 (2fs, 1 sideline) Cian Hussey 0-3, Shane Nolan and Barry O'Mahony 0-2 each, Daniel Collins, Conor O'Keeffe, and Jason Diggins 0-1 each.

WESTMEATH: Noel Conaty; Darragh Egerton, Tommy Gallagher, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Tommy Doyle, Aonghus Clarke; Cormac Boyle, Robbie Greville; Davy Glennon, Killian Doyle, Joey Boyle; Ciaran Doyle, Niall O'Brien, Niall Mitchell.

Subs: Shane Clavin for C Boyle (48), Josh Coll for C Doyle (55), Derek McNicholas for K Doyle (62), Shane Williams for O'Brien (67), Darragh Clinton for J Boyle (70).

KERRY: John B O'Halloran; Eric Leen, Evan Murphy, Conor O'Keeffe; Jason Diggins, Fionn Mackessy, Tomas O'Connor; Paudie O'Connor, Shane Nolan; Mikey Boyle, Daniel Collins, Barry O'Mahony; Padraig Boyle, Shane Conway, Cian Hussey.

Subs: Mikey Leen for P O'Connor (HT), Brian Murphy for T O'Connor (43), Maurice O'Connor for O'Mahony (54).

REFEREE: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).