O'Connell stars for Kingdom
Kerry boss John Meyler will be pleased with the result but perhaps not the performance as Kerry accounted for Westmeath at Austin Stack Park Tralee on Saturday.
"It was scrappy -- we seemed to be very nervous or something," Meyler said. "We have a lot of work to do."
Kerry had the accuracy of Darragh O'Connell to thank for this win with his tally of 1-9, and further goals from Shane Nolan on the stroke of half-time and a third from veteran John Mike Dooley in the 48th minute gave Kerry an eight-point cushion entering the final quarter.
Westmeath rallied with two goals from Dan Carty to ensure a nervous finish for the Kingdom. However, three pointed frees from O'Connell and a John Griffin effort eased Kerry through.
Scorers -- Kerry: D O'Connell 1-9 ( 0-8f), JM Dooley, S Nolan 1-0 each, J Griffin, J Egan 0-2 each, G O'Brien 0-1 Westmeath: B Murtagh 0-6 ( 0-5f), D Carty 2-0, J Shaw, J Clarke, E Price, P Gilsenan, A Dermody 0-1 each.
Kerry -- B Rochford; C Harris, T Murnane, J Fitzgerald; J Godley, L Boyle, A Keane; M Conway, J Griffin; J Egan, M Boyle, D O'Connell; JM Dooley, G O'Brien, S Nolan Subs: J Flaherty for S Nolan (55).
Westmeath -- P Burke; A Price, P Greville, J Shaw; B Leharte, A Mitchell, D McCormack; S Bardon, E McLoughlin; J Clarke, B Murtagh, E Price; K Brazil, P Gilsenan, A Dermody Subs: R Whelan for A Mitchell (17), D Carty for K Brazil (40), D Golden for P Gilsenan (60), A Farrell for A Dermody (60).
Ref -- Jason O'Mahony (Limerick).