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Gutsy Westmeath win battle of the bottom two as Kerry relegated

Kerry 1-6  Westmeath 1-12

Donal Barry reports from Strand Road, Tralee

Westmeath deservedly retained their Division 1 league status when they confidently overcame Kerry and some poor footballing conditions to defeat the home side by six points at Strand Road in Tralee on Sunday afternoon.

A do-or-die game for both sides saw Kerry start the brighter when full forward Amanda Brosnan had the ball in the Westmeath net after just 27 seconds when youngsters Andrea Murphy and Siobhan Burns combined to put the Dr Crokes girl clear.

In truth, it was the only time that Kerry threatened thereafter with Westmeath the more controlled outfit throughout.

By the 20th minute, Stephen Maxwell’s side had taken control of the contest and had the home side in their sights as they trailed 1-2 to 0-4 into a head wind as the rain continued to fall. Karen Hegarty was keeping the scoreboard tick over with three points, while the impressive Maud Annie Foley had their fourth. For Kerry they depended on sporadic attacks with Eilish O’Leary and Sarah Houlihan adding points.

Kerry then hit a purple patch but a yield of four wides was to prove costly as Kelly Bryce Jordan levelled up matters on half time before Fiona Claffey finished off a superb team move to the net on the third minute of injury time. A score that was to prove crucial as Westmeath led at the break 1-5 to 1-2.

With scores difficult to secure in the early stages on the second half Maud Annie Foley and Caoimhe O’Sullivan swapped points inside the first ten minutes before Westmeath moved up the gears with Foley, Brennan and Hegarty scoring three unanswered points to give the away side their biggest lead of the day (1-9 to 1-3) by the 48th minute.

Despite a late flurry of scores from Kerry, it was all far too late, as Westmeath hung on to their six point lead and condemned Kerry to Division 2 football for 2019

Kerry:

Scorers: Amanda Brosnan 1-1, Caoimhe O’Sullivan 0-2, Sarah Houlihan 0-2 (0-1F), Eilish O’Leary 0-1

Team: Laura Fitzgerald, Laoise Coughlan, Aislinn Desmond, Aisling O’Connell, Amy Foley, Sarah Murphy, Kate O’Sullivan, Lorraine Scanlon, Eilish O’Leary, Emma Dineen, Sarah Houlihan, Andrea Murphy, Siobhan Burns, Amanda Brosnan, Meabh Barry

Subs: Caoimhe O’Sullivan for Emma Dineen (H/T), Clodagh O’Connor for Siobhan Burns (44), Siobhan Goodwin for Meabh Barry (58)

Westmeath

Scorers: Karen Hegarty 0-4 (0-2F), Fiona Claffey 1-1,  Maud Annie Foley 0-3 Laura Brennan 0-1, Nicole Feery 0-1F, Kelly Boyce Jordan 0-1, Leanne Slevin 0-1F

Team: Karen Walsh, Rachel Dillon, Amie Giles, Nicole Feery, Fiona Coyle, Jennie Rogers, Laura Brennan, Karen Mc Dermott, Fiona Claffey, Johanna Maher, Maud Annie Foley, Lucy Mc Cartan, Karen Hegarty, Laura Lee Walsh, Kelly Boyce Jordan

Subs: Leanne Slevin for Johanna Maher (57), Ellen Cronin for Fiona Coyle (60+1)

Referee: Keith Delahunty (Tipperary)

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