All-Ireland SHC Promotion Play-Off: Lake County breathe a sigh of relief
June 14, 2014
Kildare's Willie Greene closes in on Robbie Greville Westmeath at Cusack Park Mullingar.
A strong second half showing helped Westmeath save their Leinster SHC skin with a nine-point win over Christy Ring Cup champions Kildare in Cusack Park, Mullingar today.
Brian Hanley's side were on the back foot for most of the first half and trailed by six points at one stage but the Lilywhites' challenge faded as the game progressed and it was Westmeath who breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle.
Kildare manager Brian Lawlor was forced into two changes prior to throw-in with Willie Green and Mark Delaney replacing Ross Kelly and Mark Delaney who both departed for the US.
But they enjoyed the perfect start with Bernard Deay and Gerry Keegan finding the back of the Westmeath net in the 6th and 9th minutes respectively.
To their credit, the hosts refused to panic and a Niall O'Brien point had them back on level terms by the 26th minute - 0-11 to 2-5.
The game then swung in the Lake County's favour when Derek McNicholas goaled on the stroke of half-time to send them in with a 1-13 to 2-7 advantage.
Try as they might, the Brian Lawlor-managed visitors were unable to claw back the deficit in the second half as Westmeath's greater experience began to tell.
An injury-time goal by Alan Devine applied the gloss to the team in maroon and white's victory and the result means the status quo remains as regards Westmeath's and Kildare's participation in the Leinster SHC and Christy Ring Cup respectively in 2015.
Westmeath - P Collins; K Duncan, T Doyle, L Varley; G Greville, A Craig (0-1), P Reilly; P Gilsenan, E Price; R Greville (0-2), A Devine (1-1), D Gavin (0-2); A Clarke (0-2), D McNicholas (1-2), N O'Brien (0-11, 6f, 2'65). Subs: J Boyle (0-1) for A Clarke, M Heeney for P Reilly.
Kildare - P Dermody; J Doran, F O Muineachain, N O Muineachain; D Harney, E O'Neill, R Hoban; M Moloney (0-2), M Fitzgerald (0-1); W Greene, P Divilly (0-4, 1f, 2'65), B Deay (1-1); G Keegan (1-2), T Murphy, M Delaney (0-1). Subs: J O'Malley for W Greene, R Casey (0-2) for M Delaney.
Referee - J Keenan.
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