Westmeath find their range in second half to see off defending Leinster champions Kildare


SECOND half goals from Brian Cooney and Matthew Whittaker were enough for Westmeath to see off defending Leinster U20 champions Kildare at a wet and windy Centre of Excellence in Newbridge.

Through difficult conditions, Kildare, who started with seven players who featured in last year’s All-Ireland U20 final, scored the first four points of the game over the course of the opening 25 minutes but failed to capitalise on a spell of almost 20 minutes against 14 men after both Westmeath midfielders Dylan Murtagh and Ben Killian were shown black cards.

Westmeath recovered from those disciplinary issues to score three of the last four points of the half to trail by 0-5 to 0-3 at the break.

Brian Cooney and Tom Kelleher scored soon after the restart and although substitute Ryan Sinkey put Kildare back into the lead, Westmeath took hold of the game from the moment Cooney first to net in the 42nd minute after Senan Baker’s free got held up in the wind. Baker added a free and Shane Hanley pushed then four clear.

Kildare battled back to halve that deficit but Wittaker made sure of the win when he pounced on a loose kickout by Cormac Barker and the Leinster champions are grateful that they get a second opportunity under the new structures of this year’s Championship.


Westmeath – M Whittaker 1-3, B Cooney 1-1, S Baker 0-3fs, S Hanley 0-1, T Kelleher 0-1, S Corcoran 0-1

Kildare – S Farrell 0-5fs, A Fanning 0-2 (1m), K Cummins 0-1f, C Bolton 0-1, R Sinkey 0-1


WESTMEATH: M Lynam; L Daly, S Smith, D Lowry; D Scahill, T Kelleher, J Geoghegan; D Murtagh, B Killian; P Quinn, D McCartan, M Whittaker; B Cooney, S Baker, S Hanley. Subs: S Corcoran for Quinn, 52; P Pierson for Hanley, 59; T Baker for Wittaker, 60 +2.

KILDARE: C Barker; H O’Neill, R Burke, J McKevitt; J Harris, J McGrath, F O’Giollain; L Killian, S Hanafin; C Bolton, C Dalton, S Farrell; K Cummins, N Dolan, A Fanning. Subs: R Sinkey for Hanafin, 37; O O’Sullivan for Dolan, 44; T Von Englebrechten for O’Giollain, 52; E Cully for Cummins, 57; D Guerin for Killian, 60+2

REFEREE: A Smith (Meath).