McGeeney delight as Kildare sink lacklustre Westmeath
Kildare 3-23 Westmeath 1-12
Kildare did what they had to do to set up a winner-takes-all clash with Galway at Pearse Stadium next weekend, making light work of a very disappointing Westmeath outfit.
The Lilywhites have continued their progress since falling to poor defeats in the opening two rounds of the competition and the visitors had no answer to their power and movement.
It was a fairly abject display from Westmeath though, particularly as it came just a week after they scored 1-19 in overcoming Monaghan.
One player that must be excused from criticism though is Denis Glennon, as he performed heroics, scoring five points from play while being shadowed by Peter Kelly, before the former All Star was relieved of the marking duties.
From the time James Kavanagh netted in the 18th minute for Kildare though, there was never any likelihood that the Lakesiders would fashion a shock result.
"It is a good way to win a game," said Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney. "Obviously Westmeath were a bit weak. They lost two or three of their players (Gary Connaughton, Kieran Gavin and Michael Ennis) before the game as did we with Leper (Eamonn Callaghan) and Daryl (Flynn).
"When you were coming today people wouldn't have expected us to beat a team well that beat a team (Monaghan) that beat us well. But that is just the way the year has been going. In fairness to the fellas, I thought they moved the ball quite sharply today apart from the first seven or eight minutes.
"We were moving it first time and taking the right options and sometimes you can make that look easy. When you stop doing that, you can make it look hard. Today they did it for the majority of the game."
The onlooking Seanie Johnston must have been impressed. When quizzed on the latest news with regard to that particular situation, McGeeney revealed that he will be respecting the wishes of his own county board by making no more comments on the most prolonged transfer saga since Eamon Fennell applied for a switch to St Vincent's from O'Tooles.
Westmeath were actually pretty competitive in the early exchanges, Ronan Foley getting them a second- minute lead. Within seconds, Mikey Conway had a shot at goal deflected for a '45, which Eoghan O'Flaherty converted.
Glennon fired over a couple of points but with Mick Foley a dominant figure at midfield, Westmeath could not get enough ball to the Tyrrellspass flier.
From a position in which they led by a point after eight minutes, Westmeath found themselves falling 13 points in arrears, as Kildare embarked on a devastating scoring blitz.
Kavanagh and Mikey Conway added some delightful points, but Westmeath were given a lifeline when Kieran Martin appeared to be tripped in the square and Derek Brazil awarded a penalty. David Glennon sent Shane Connolly the wrong way with a low shot and it was 1-13 to 1-4 at half-time.
Denis Glennon added a couple of more points from play early in the second half, prompting Kildare to move Ollie Lyons onto him.
That was as good as it got for Pat Flanagan's men though, as Kildare continued to rack up the points while creating a number of goal opportunities.
Emmet Bolton took a lay-off from O'Connor to grab goal number two in the 44th minute, before Alan Smith weighted his pass to Kavanagh brilliantly just eight minutes later for the Ballymore man to grab his second major of the game in clinical style.
Man of the Match: Mikey Conway (Kildare)
SCORERS -- Kildare: J Kavanagh 2-2, M Conway 0-6 (3f), E O'Flaherty 0-5 (3f, 2 '45), E Bolton 1-1, A Smith 0-3, P O'Neill 0-2, B Flanagan, T O'Connor, P Fogarty, J Doyle 0-1 each. Westmeath: Denis Glennon 0-7 (5f), J Heslin 0-3 (f), David Glennon 1-0 (pen), R Foley, K Martin 0-1 each.
Kildare -- S Connolly 6; O Lyons 7, P Kelly 5, M O'Flaherty 7; E Bolton 7, H McGrillen 7, B Flanagan 7; M Foley 8, P O'Neill 7; J Doyle 7, M Conway 9, E O'Flaherty 7; A Smith 7, T O'Connor 7, J Kavanagh 8. Subs: R Sweeney 6 for O'Neill (53), P Fogarty 6 for Doyle (55), D Earley 6 for Foley (55), G White 6 for M O'Flaherty (60), K Ennis 6 for Bolton (64).
Westmeath -- D Quinn 6; K Maguire 6, M Curley 6, P Sharry 6; D McDermott 5, A Finnan 6, B Moran 5; P Bannon 6, J Heslin 6; R Foley 6, G Egan 6, C McCormack 6; K Martin 6, Denis Glennon 6, David Glennon 8. Subs: D Gavin 6 for McDermott (49), K Sheridan 6 for Moran (55), M Gorman 6 for McCormack (59), A Giles 6 for Egan (67).
REF -- D Brazil (Offaly)