O'Hehir puts the seal on Kildare fightback
SECOND-half goals from Sean Gainey and Conor O'Hehir backboned a stunning comeback as Kildare turned a seven-point deficit into a six-point win at in Newbridge last night.
Westmeath led 0-12 to 0-6 at the break and looked well on their way to victory when they increased that lead early in the second half, but Kildare went on to outscore their opponents by 2-7 to 0-1 in the final 17 minutes.
Although Westmeath were in charge for most of the game, they never really pulled away and Gainey's close-range strike in the 48th minute left just a point between the teams.
Conor Kenny followed that with a quickfire double to put Kildare ahead for the first time, but the game was still in the balance as the clock ticked past 60 minutes.
Kildare were protecting a three-point lead when Westmeath's best player on the night Niall O'Brien found a way through their defence, but his low shot was superbly pushed away by Kildare goalkeeper Cormac Gallagher.
And the home side put the icing on the cake when they went straight up the other end and netted through O'Hehir in the final attack of the game.
Kildare will now face Meath in the final.
Scorers -- Kildare: C O'Hehir 1-6 (5f), C Kenny 0-4, S Gainey 1-0, M Fitzgerald (1f, 0-1 '65'), G Keegan 0-2, M Delaney 0-1. Westmeath: N O'Brien 0-7 (3f, 0-3 '65'), A Clarke, R Greville 0-2 each, D Fennell, D Lynch, B O'Mara, N Kirby 0-1 each.
Kildare -- C Gallagher; R McGrath, M Carter, D McDonnadha, K Whelan, M Purcell, R Kelly; M Fitzgerald, S Gainey; D Flaherty, C Kenny, M Delaney, C O'Hehir, G Keegan, R Casey. Sub: S O'Flynn for Casey (29).
Westmeath -- S McGovern; P Fennell, A McGrath, T Gallagher, D Fennell, T Doyle, S Boylan; A Clarke, C Boyle; D Lynch, A Craig, R Greville, B O'Mara, N Kirby, N O'Brien. Subs: G Flynn for Boylan (h-t), G Flynn for O'Mara (38), Cathal Scally for Craig (38).
REF -- K Brady (Louth).