Joe McDonagh Cup: Kerry defeat Westmeath
Joe McDonagh Cup
KERRY 1-21 WESTMEATH 2-16
By Conor McKenna at TEG Cusack Park
Westmeath suffered defeat against Kerry in their second game of the 2019 Joe McDonagh Cup.
Kerry were outstanding and were very organised throughout the game, with Shane Conway magnificent throughout and this was a perfect way to bounce back from their defeat to Antrim in round one.
This result has blown the Joe McDonagh Cup wide open, as Kerry are now right back in contention, as they are set to host Laois and Offaly in their final games.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring, courtesy of a point from talisman Shane Conway which was quickly cancelled out by a free from Killian Doyle.
Doyle added another free to double his sides lead, as Kerry opted to play with Michael Boyle as an extra defender.
Westmeath held a 0-5 to 0-2 lead with 14 minutes on the clock, but Kerry came back into the game superbly and registered five successive scores to turn a three point deficit into a two point lead.
There lead could have been ever greater had Conor Lynch not produced an excellent save to deny Padraig Boyle, although Kerry were full value for their two point advantage.
The teams were tied at 0-8 points apiece at half time, with Killian Doyle responsible for seven of his sides eight scores.
Westmeath had a great start to the second half, after Killian Doyle’s effort was saved by John B O’Halloran and Allan Devine reacted quickest to the rebound, with the Castlepollard native finishing to the Kerry net with just 25 seconds elapsed in the second half.
Kerry responded superbly to the set-back however and the Kingdom had a three point lead heading into the last 10 minutes of proceedings.
Killian Doyle levelled the game with a superb solo goal, but it was immediately cancelled out with a goal from Colum Harty, after he was picked out superbly by Michael Slattery.
Westmeath trailed by three at this juncture, but Kerry were dealt a major blow when Tomas O’Connor was shown a second yellow card in the 66th minute.
Westmeath added the next three scores to level the game and the teams were tied heading into four minutes additional time, before Shane Conway stepped up with a '65 to restore his sides advantage.
Both sides traded scores in stoppage time, before Patrick Murphy blew for full time much to the delight of the Kerry contingent, who held on for a narrow win.
Scorers for Kerry: Shane Conway 0-13 (7fs, 2 '65s), Colum Harty 1-1, Jordan Conway 0-3, Patrick Kelly 0-1, Michael O’Leary 0-1, James O’Connor 0-1, Padraig Boyle 0-1.
Scorers for Westmeath: Killian Doyle 1-11 (8fs), Allan Devine 1-0, Darragh Clinton 0-2, Robbie Greville 0-1, Shane Clavin 0-1, Eoin Price 0-1.
KERRY: John B O’Halloran; James O'Connor, Bryan Murphy, Sean Weir; Evan Murphy, Patrick Kelly, Daniel Collins; Dan Goggin, Tomas O'Connor; Michael O’Leary, Shane Conway, Jack Goulding; Padraig Boyle, Michael Boyle, Colum Harty.
Subs: Jordan Conway for Patrick Kelly (40), Michael Slattery for Dan Goggin (61).
WESTMEATH: Conor Lynch; Darragh Egerton, Tommy Doyle, Gary Greville; Conor Shaw, Aonghus Clarke, Paul Greville; Cormac Boyle, Shane Clavin; Joey Boyle, Killian Doyle, Robbie Greville; Niall Mitchell, Derek McNicholas, Ciaran Doyle.
Subs: Darragh Clinton for Niall Mitchell (24), Allan Devine for Ciaran Doyle (h-t), Eoin Price for Derek McNicholas (h-t), Shane Power for Conor Shaw (59), John Gilligan for Joey Boyle (70 + 3).
REFEREE: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).