Hanley relief after Devine brace sends Kildare down
Westmeath 3-11 Kildare 1-14
Under-fire Westmeath manager Brian Hanley had a morale-boosting win in Newbridge but his team made hard work of it after making a blistering start to the game.
Goals from Noel Conaty and Alan Devine helped the visitors into a 2-2 to no score lead after eight minutes and Kildare's challenge was made all the more difficult when midfielder Willie Greene was shown a red card in the 12th minute following an altercation with Ciaran Curley.
Curley was shown a yellow card himself for his part in that incident and then saw yellow for a second time six minutes later. That sparked Kildare back to life and a superb individual goal by Gerry Keegan followed by two Paul Divilly frees left just a point between the sides.
Despite Kildare's spirited showing, Westmeath held a two-point half-time lead, but three scores from play from Bernard Deay helped Kildare move briefly into a one-point lead with 13 minutes to play before Westmeath quickly regained control.
Hanley's men eventually secured their win when Devine evaded Barry Cahill 10 minutes from the end and lashed home his second goal.
The result condemns Kildare to relegation but it might just breathe new life into Westmeath's season.
Scorers – Westmeath: A Devine 2-1, N Conaty 1-4 (2fs), A McGrath, N Kirby 0-2 each, D McNicholas, D Fennell 0-1 each. Kildare: G Keegan 1-5 (5fs), P Divilly 0-4 (3fs, 1'65), B Deay 0-3, W Greene (f), R Casey 0-1 each.
WESTMEATH – P Collins 6; P Fennell 7, T Doyle 6, D Fennell 6; G Greville 7, A Craig 7, P Reilly 6; C Curley 5, P Gilsenan 6; R Greville 6, D McNicholas 7, D Gavin 7; N Conaty 8, A McGrath 7, A Devine 9. Subs: N Kirby 7 for Gilsenan (29); P Layde 6 for D Fennell (47); L Varley 6 for P Reilly (48).
KILDARE – P Dermody 7; P Reidy 5, J Doran 6, N O Muineachain 6; E O'Neill 6, M Moloney 6, K Whelan 6; P Kennedy 6,W Greene 4; P Divilly 8, J O'Malley 6, B Deay 8; G Keegan 7, T Murphy 7, R Casey 6. Subs: B Cahill 5 for Reidy (31); M Delaney 6 for Casey (59); D Harney 6 for O'Malley (68).
Ref – D O'Driscoll (Limerick)