Evan Treacy/INPHO Kildare's Jimmy Hyland celebrates his goal.
# Last Four
Kildare advance to Leinster final and send Westmeath into Tailteann Cup
The Lilywhites will play the winners of Dublin and Meath in the decider.

Kildare 1-20

Westmeath 2-14

KILDARE HEAD TO the Leinster final wondering how they only managed to win this game by three points. 

At times it looked every bit a contest between Division 1 and 3 teams, yet Glenn Ryan will be concerned at Kildare’s failure to put the game to bed earlier. 

The Lilywhites produced some scintillating attacking play to lead by 1-19 to 2-9 on 49 minutes, but they scored just three points (and 0-1 from play) down the home straight.  

When they were good, Kildare were very good. The scoring ability of their front six – all whom had scored from play inside 20 minutes – is striking.

Physically, they are a powerful unit but they now possess an elite attack . The 2-22 they shot against Louth was no fluke. Kildare posted 1-21 here and still missed 11 point attempts.

Ben McCormack (0-5), Jimmy Hyland (1-4), Darragh Kirwan (0-5) and Daniel Flynn (0-2) did the bulk of the damage in a forward line that is motoring nicely. 

While it would be premature to say that Dublin’s Leinster crown is under threat, at the very least Kildare look ready to mount their best challenge in the province since the Kieran McGeeney days.

The defeat consigns Westmeath to the Tailteann Cup draw on Monday.

They deserve credit for hanging in there during a game where they looked second best for long spells. Unlike last year’s semi-final where they rued missed chances against the same opponents, Jack Cooney’s men could have no complaints here. 

Ronan O’Toole was their best forward, scoring 1-2 from play, while Sam McCartan and Ray Connellan can be happy with their contributions at midfield.

Shea Ryan held John Heslin to three points from play. Ger Egan has only returned from injury and looked short of match fitness

Westmeath scored a goal directly from throw-in and it was a sign of things to come. Ronan Wallace made a superb burst forward through the middle and found Ronan O’Toole, who had peeled off to the back post. 

john-heslin-with-james-murray Evan Treacy / INPHO Westmeath's John Heslin with James Murray of Kildare. Evan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Kildare didn’t panic and eight minutes later were 1-3 to 1-1 ahead. Jimmy Hyland palmed into the net after Jason Daly’s short restart was intercepted by Kevin Flynn. He fed the run of Daniel Flynn and Hyland was on hand for an easy finish. 

It was an entertaining and open first-half that featured a host of goal chances. Moments before Hyland’s three-pointer, Darragh Kirwan dragged a low effort narrowly wide. At the far end Jonathan Lynam forced a fine stop form Mark Donnellan. 

Shortly before half-time, Daniel Flynn put through Alex Beirne but his goal bound strike was brilliantly denied by Daly. A green flag at that point would have put the Lilywhites nine clear and almost out of sight. Within 60 seconds, the ball was in the back of the Kildare net.

They worked the ball upfield and wing-back Jamie Gonoud took the initiative on the edge of the D. He tried to find Ronan Wallace, who had ghosted to the edge of the area. Donnellan came out to challenge Wallace and the ball broke kindly for Gonoud to finish into the net. 

That gave Westmeath a lifeline. McCormack kicked his fourth from distance to leave Kildare four ahead at the interval. Despite playing against the breeze, Kildare’s scoring rate continued in the early stages of the second period. 

Daniel Flynn gets plenty of plaudits for his athleticism and score-taking, but his ability to bring others into play with his quick hands is exceptional. He set-up scores for Kirwan and Hyland after collecting deliveries inside. 

Westmeath never gave up. Ray Connellan collected a kick-out inside his own half and proceeded to run the length of the field before curling over. Luke Loughlin, introduced late in the first period, raced in from the flank and added an effort, moments before another from Connellan. 

However, Westmeath couldn’t stem the tide at the far end. Hyland, Kirwan and McCormack continue to fill their boots, as Kevin Flynn bombed forward impressively from wing-back.

The Lake County hung in there, even if they always seemed too far behind to mount a serious comeback. O’Toole brought his tally to 1-2 as Kildare seemed to be sleepwalking their way to the final whistle. McCartan shot a quick fire brace either side of one from Heslin.

All of a sudden, with 30 seconds of stoppage-time left, Westmeath were back within a goal. Then time ran out on their challenge.   

Scorers for Kildare: Jimmy Hyland 1-4, Ben McCormack 0-5, Darragh Kirwan (0-1f) 0-5, Daniel Flynn (0-1m) 0-2, Neil Flynn (0-1f), Tony Archbold, Kevin Flynnm Alex Beirne and Paul Cribbin 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: Ronan O’Toole 1-2, John Heslin (0-1f) 0-4, Sam McCartan 1-0, Ray Connellan 0-2, Nigel Harte and Luke Loughlin 0-1 each.


1. Mark Donnellan (Maynooth)

6. James Murray (Moorefield), 4. Mike Joyce (Round Towers), 2. Mick O’Grady (Celbridge – captain)

5. Tony Archbold (Celbridge), 3. Shea Ryan (Sarsfields), 7. Kevin Flynn (Celbridge) 

8. Kevin Feely (Athy) , 9. Kevin O’Callaghan (Celbridge)

10. Alex Beirne (Naas), 11. Ben McCormack (Sarsfields), 12. Paul Cribbin (Johnstownbridge), 

13. Darragh Kirwan (Naas), 14. Daniel Flynn (Johnstownbridge), 15. Jimmy Hyland (Ballyteague)


18. Paddy McDermott (Naas) for Cribbin (49)

17. David Hyland (Athy) for Joyce (53)

24. Fergal Conway (Newbridge) for O’Callaghan (57)

23. Neil Flynn (Maynooth) for Hyland (61)

22. Aaron Masterson for Feely (69) 


1. Jason Daly (St Loman’s)

2. Jack Smith (Skerries Harps), 3. Kevin Maguire (Caulry), 4. David Giles (Coralstown Kinnegad)

7. Nigel Harte (Tyrrellspass), 6. Ronan Wallace (Multyfarnham), 5. Jamie Gonoud (Tyrrellspass)

9. Ray Connellan (Athlone), 10. Sam McCartan (St Loman’s Mullingar)

12. David Lynch (St Malachy’s),  14. John Heslin (St Loman’s)8. Jonathan Lynam (The Downs)

13. Lorcan Dolan (Castledaly), , 11. Ronan O’Toole (St Loman’s), 15. Alex Gardiner (Garrycastle)


17. Luke Loughlin (The Downs) for Lynam (34)

22. Sam Duncan (Mulltownpass) for Gardiner (49) 

26. James Dolan (Garrycastle) for Lynch (55)

18. Kieran Martin (Maryland) for Ger Egan (62)

20. Robbie Forde (Moate All Whites) for Giles (69)

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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