Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA

Westmeath 1-12 Kerry 2-10

Anyone in the vicinity of Mullingar could hardly have escaped the strange noises emanating from Cusack Park.

More Kerry supporters than expected had travelled up for this second-round qualifier.

And that strange noise was the collective sound of their bottoms all shifting uncomfortably until they escaped with a one point win after a most dramatic game that featured a penalty apiece and a marvellously gutsy performance by Westmeath.

The home side tossed their underdog tag aside magnificently to lead by two points at half-time — |0-8 to 1-3, the Kingdom’s goal a penalty by Bryan Sheehan — and go six clear within four minutes of the re-start.

It was Darran O'Sullivan who heroically saved Kerry's summer this time. The Glenbeigh flier wasn't fit to start because of a hamstring strain but when Westmeath scored through a David Glennon penalty early in the second half, Jack O'Connor was forced to throw him in.

O'Sullivan only survived 26 minutes, withdrawn so as not to exacerbate his injury, but by then he had helped to save Kerry.

Within seven minutes of the re-start he got the goal that put them back in the game when Colm Cooper found him, unmarked, with a quick free.

It was a particularly contentious free because Westmeath were furious that Ronan Foley had just been penalised for over-carrying out of his own defence.

Paul Galvin contributed two vital second-half points as Kerry edged through.

Kerry manager O’Connor said: “Sometimes form can be just around the corner but we're not as fluid up front as we need to be, that's very obvious.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph