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white victory Daniel Flynn inspires Kildare as Lilies get better of Westmeath to book Leinster final place

Kildare 2-14 Westmeath 0-18

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Daniel Flynn of Kildare in action against Kevin Maguire of Westmeath during the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship semi-final. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Daniel Flynn of Kildare in action against Kevin Maguire of Westmeath during the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship semi-final. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Daniel Flynn of Kildare in action against Kevin Maguire of Westmeath during the Leinster GAA Senior Football Championship semi-final. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Daniel Flynn inspired Kildare as the Lilies fired two goals inside four second-half minutes to book their Leinster SFC final place with a hard-fought victory over Westmeath at Croke Park this afternoon.

Flynn was quiet in the opening half but he came to life in the early stages of the second period to expertly set up Jimmy Hyland for a goal before hitting the net himself in the 47th minute as Jack O'Connor's men held off a late Westmeath rally to prevail.

There was never likely to be much between these Leinster rivals and they were level on six occasions in the opening half with Kildare marginally edging proceedings to take a one-point lead in at the break.

John Heslin was on the mark after 70 seconds but Neil Flynn (free) and the returning Flynn quickly responded at the other end before Ger Egan send over a beauty from a tight angle to level it up, 0-2 apiece.

Lorcan Dolan sent Westmeath ahead with a sweet point before Heslin followed up with a free but Kevin Flynn missed a decent goal-scoring chance for Kildare when firing off the post after his scorching pace breached the Lake defence.

Hyland (free) and Dolan (mark) traded scores before a brace of points from the brilliant Neil Flynn (one from play) levelled affairs, only for a Heslin free to leave Westmeath one point to the good at the first water break, 0-6 to 0-5.

Kildare hit the first three points upon the resumption, however, with good scores from play from Fergal Conway and Alex Beirne and a Flynn '45 but scores from Dolan and Heslin levelled it up once again, 0-8 each.

Eoin Doyle spurned a glorious goal chance when trying to handpass despite being through on goal in the 30th minute before Kevin Feely and David Lynch traded points.

Flynn pointed Kildare ahead once again but they were hit with a hammer blow when Feely was forced off just before the break following a collision, although the Lilies did hold the lead at the break by the minimum, 0-11 to 0-10.

The game turned in four minutes early on in the second half with Flynn central to two Kildare goals as he first played an inviting ball across the Westmeath square in the 43rd minute with Hyland palming to the net despite Jamie Gonoud’s best efforts.

The Johnstownbridge powerhouse then sliced through the Westmeath defence soon after before cooly finishing to the net and it looked for all the world that Kildare would keep Westmeath at arm's length as they led by six, 2-11 to 0-11.

Westmeath were not deterred, though, and had the gap cut to three points by the second water break with Kildare also losing influential defender Doyle to a hamstring injury midway through the second half.

Westmeath had the gap cut to the minimum by the 64th minute, 2-13 to 0-18, but they would live to rue 10 second-half wides as Kildare held on in an exciting finale to book their provincial final place.

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KILDARE – M Donnellan; M O'Grady, E Doyle, M Dempsey; D Hyland, R Houlihan, K Flynn; K Feely, A Masterson; A Beirne, F Conway, N Flynn; B McCormack, D Flynn, J Hyland.

Subs: S Ryan for Feely inj (34), D Malone for Houlihan and S O'Sullivan for McCormack (both half-time), P McDermott for Doyle inj (52), B McLoughlin for Hyland (68).

WESTMEATH – J Daly; J Gonoud, K Maguire, B Sayeh; J Dolan, R Wallace, S McCartan; D Corroon,S Duncan; R Connellan, D Lynch, R O'Toole; L Dolan, G Egan, J Heslin.

Subs: D Giles for Sayeh (46), F Ayorinde for Corroon (51), T McDaniel for Connellan (62), N Harte for McCartan (72).

REF – D O'Mahoney (Tipperary)


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