KILDARE underlined their credentials as genuine Ring Cup contenders with a stunning second half demolition of Meath at Páirc Tailteann.
Andy Comerford's Lilywhite charges only led by two points at the break, having failed to capitalise on a strong breeze, but they upped the ante on the restart to record a convincing 2-18 to 1-10 victory. David Harney and John Houlihan scored their goals in the last ten minutes, with David Kirby netting an injury-time consolation.
Kildare now face Wicklow in the round two winners' section next weekend. A free-taking masterclass from Jonathan O'Neill - who scored 11 of his 12 points from placed balls - helped Wicklow overcome Mayo by 1-19 to 2-12 at Arklow.
Andy O'Brien scored a peach of a first half goal for the home side, but they still trailed the wind-assisted westerners by 2-6 to 1-5 at the midpoint. Mayo retained a four-point cushion at the three-quarter stage before O'Neill's arrows eventually made all the difference.
Westmeath can count themselves lucky to have overcome Derry by a misleading five points (5-15 to 3-16) after a dramatic extra-time contest in Mullingar, because they were on the verge of defeat in normal time.
Kevin Martin's men trailed by five points with just four minutes remaining, having already lost Alan Dowdall to a 62nd minute dismissal. But then a goal from Brendan Murtagh and a John Shaw point was followed by Andrew Mitchell's converted '65' to send the tie into extra-time, where further goals from Andrew Dermody and John Hardman proved crucial. Full-back Paul Greville was outstanding, while Murtagh top-scored with 2-4. Westmeath's next outing is against a Kerry side who pulled away in the last ten minutes to overcome Down by 0-27 to 1-19 in Newry. The visitors were greartly aided by an 11-point haul (9f,1 '65') from Darragh O'Connell.
DRAW - Round 2A: Kildare v Wicklow, Kerry v Westmeath. Round 2B: Mayo v Down, Derry v Meath.