Durkan goal lifts Lakemen as red cards spoil Kildare comeback
WESTMEATH ended up clinging on for victory against 13-man Kildare in a game where they should have been out of sight by the interval.
The home side dominated the first half in Mullingar, but led by just five points.
Kildare, galvanised by some inspired substitutions, battled back after the break, outscoring the Lake County by three points to one, and Westmeath were relieved to see a Kildare effort on goal rattle back off the woodwork.
However, Kildare's hopes faded when they were reduced to 13 men in the dying minutes. Peter Kelly was issued with a second yellow card for a challenge on Conor Lynam, and substitute Danny Egan was dismissed after just five minutes on the field for alleged comments to the referee.
Earlier, James Durkan's goal shortly before the interval rewarded a strong first-half showing from the hosts.
Kildare keeper Robbie Eyres had denied Ian Coffey, but at the other end, there were vociferous appeals for a penalty when Darroch Mulhall went down in the penalty area.
The introduction of Danny O'Keeffe and Seamus Hanafin roused the Lilywhites, but Westmeath held on.
Westmeath manager Brendan Hackett knows his side most improve greatly if they are to beat Meath in the next round on March 6.
Scorers -- Westmeath: J Durkan 1-0, C McCormack 0-3, I Coffey, C Lynam (0-1f), J Heslin 0-1 each. Kildare: K Cribben (0-1f), D Mullhall (0-1f) 0-2 each, D O'Keeffe, S Hanafin 0-1 each.
Westmeath -- D Quinn; BMoran, K Maguire, R Doyle; G Egan, K Martin, M McCallum; D Coroon, J Heslin; J Durkan, J Egan, C Lynam; I Coffey, C McCormack, T McDaniel. Subs: P Sharry for McDaniel (39), K Sheridan for Durkan (48), T McDaniel for Coffey (55).
Kildare -- R Eyres; J Roche, B Kinahan, R McGuire; D Coogan, A Higgins, P Warren; PKelly, S Bergin; S Campbell, K Cribben, N Scanlon; D Mulhall, C McNally, C Reynolds. Subs: D Duggan for Kinahan (12), D O'Keeffe for Bergin (h-t), S Hanafin for McGuire (h-t), D Egan for Reynolds (54), G Duffy for Scanlon (42).
REF -- P Finnegan (Louth).