Ladies cruise to League final meeting with Galway
Kerry ladies advanced to their second national final in eight months with incredible ease in this very one-sided and disappointing affair.
The Tipperary town sign post read "Welcome to Tipperary: You have come a long way" and this could have been written especially for this team who finally got to the Division 2 final after three attempts.
In truth Westmeath were never able to match the speed, strength and movement of a slick Kerry team who have matured to a level where they would be well capable of surviving in Division 1.
Kerry aided by a breeze too full advantage from as early as the 7th minute when they had taken a 0-3 to 0-1 lead. Sarah Houlihan had a brace of pointed frees in the second and fourth minute and Patrice Dennehy added a third on seven minutes.
Sarah Dolan raised the first white flag for Westmeath a minute later but there were already signs that Kerry were playing at another level. Mags Fitzgerald and Louise Galvin's strong runs were causing all sorts of headaches for the Westmeath defence and with Sarah Houlihan and Patrice Dennehy showing great speed it was clear that this game was going to be no repeat of their earlier meeting.
Louise Galvin found the net on the ninth minute when she got herself on to the end of a clever Deirdre Corridan pass. In previous games Kerry had a tendency to ease up but not on this occasion and they built on their dominance and in next 10 minutes Mags Fitzgerald notched up four points of her own.
A fifth point in that period from Deirdre Corridan put Kerry into a 1-8 to 0-1 lead with still ten minutes remaining.
Westmeath's Maud Annie Foley (a niece of Meath's Kevin Foley, famous for his last minute goal against the Dubs in 1991) was one of the few who took the battle to Kerry and pointed her team's second point on the 23rd minute. However, this was just a mild reprieve as Kerry finished the half with points from Galvin, Breen, Houlihan and Fitzgerald to lead at the break 1-12 to 0-2.
Kerry were in no mood to ease off in the second half and had the game wrapped up by the 45th minute. Louise Ni Mhuirtceartaigh found her goal poaching senses once again and was in the right place in the 39th and 44th minute to find the net twice to move Kerry out to a 3-16 to 0-4. This effectively killed off the game and with Kerry running the bench the game played out to its inevitable course.
Kerry did fail to score for the last 16 minutes while Westmeath enjoyed a brief period of dominance thereafter their only reward was points from Foley and Kearney.
Kerry now meet Galway in the Tesco HomeGrown National League Division 2 final in Parnell Park Dublin on May 11.
Kerry: E Murphy, C Lynch, A Desmond, A Lyons, B Lane, C Kelly, D Hallissey, E Sherwood, B Breen (0-1), S Houlihan (0-4), D Corridan (0-2), L Galvin (1-2), M Ftizgerald (0-5) P Dennehy (0-1), L Ni Mhuirtceartaigh (2-1). Subs: L Scanlon for M Fitzgerald (48), M O'Connell for D Corridan (48), G Crowley for C Lynch (54), J Brosnan for D Hallissey (54), M Quirke for L Galvin (56)
Westmeath: N Mulligan, A martin, A Giles, C Finch, K Boyce-Jordan, T Durkin, L Brennan, R Kearney(0-1), M Foley (0-3) C Blundell, L Walsh, J Maher, K Hegarty, B McGuire(0-1), Sarah Dolan (0-1). Subs: A Brady for A Giles (38), C Kelly for S Dolan (47), A O'Donoghue for B McGuire (55)
Referee: Keith Delahunty (Tipperary)