Rampant Kerry switch focus to Ring Cup
Kerry 5-17 Westmeath 3-17: Allianz NHL Div 2A final
Kerry blitzed Westmeath with five first-half goals to take the title, but Brendan Murtagh's disallowed goal for crossing the 20-metre line shortly after the restart was the big controversy.
An aerial bombardment from the Kingdom saw Mikey Boyle (2), Shane Nolan, Colm Harty and Keith Carmody all goal between the fifth and 23rd minutes, while Padraig Boyle led the line superbly with seven points.
Had Murtagh's goal stood it would have cut the gap to seven points with half an hour still to play.
And after Westmeath manager Michael Ryan saw Derek McNicholas and Daragh Clinton hit the net in the closing stages, he was left wondering what might have been, despite admitting his side were second best.
"Right through the field I thought Kerry were superior. They played great hurling, their first touch was excellent," he conceded.
"But Brendan Murtagh's goal was a tough call. The linesman said he was six inches inside the line when he struck the ball.
"That would have made the gap manageable."
Last month Westmeath inflicted Kerry's only league defeat - by 15 points in Tralee - but this convincing reversal sets up a promotion/relegation play-off against Antrim next weekend, 12 months on from their defeat to Offaly at the same stage.
Kerry manager Eamonn Kelly said last year's disappointment was not their motivation, but the more recent loss to the Lake men.
"We were up for it big time," said Kelly. "They gave us an awful beating a few weeks ago and it was the wake-up call we needed.
"We were here last year, but the competition we have focused on is the Christy Ring and we need to get back down to earth and get ready for Down."
Man of the match: Patrick Kelly (Kerry)
Scorers - Kerry: M Boyle 2-2, P Boyle 0-7 (6fs), S Nolan 1-3, C Harty 1-2, K Carmody 1-0, J Griffin, P Kelly, J Flaherty 0-1 each. Westmeath: D Clinton 1-4, D McNicholas 2-1, N O'Brien 0-5 (5fs), B Murtagh (1f), C Boyle 0-2 each, E Price, A Devine, N Dowdall 0-1 each.
Kerry - J Logue 8; D Fitzell 7, D Dineen 8, B Murphy 7 ; S Weit 7, D Collins 8, P Costello 7; J Griffin 8, P Kelly 9; M O'Leary 6, S Nolan 8, C Harty 7; M Boyle 9, P Boyle 8, K Carmody 7. Subs: J Egan 6 for O'Leary (31), P Lucid 6 for Kelly (56-60 blood), J Flaherty 7 for Egan (57), T Casey 7 for Carmody (64), P Lucid for Harty (66), A Royle 6 for Weir (69).
Westmeath - P Collins 6; S Power 6, T Doyle 7, A Price 5; G Greville 6, A Clarke 6, L Varley 6; E Price 7, J Clarke 6; A Devine 6, B Murtagh 7, R Greville 6; N O'Brien 6, D McNicholas 8, D Clinton 8. Subs: A Craig 6 for A Price (16), C Boyle 8 for Varley (h-t), A McGrath 6 for J Clarke (47), N Dowdall 7 for Devine (54), E Corrigan 6 for O'Brien (61).
Ref - T Carroll (Offaly).