The Lilywhites hammered Westmeath to move into contention for a promotion place from division two of the football league.
James Kavanagh was the star of the show as he scored two goals while Emmet Bolton also netted as Kildare enjoyed an easy 3-23 - 1-12 win at Newbridge. David Glennon netted a penalty for the visitors and, despite brave efforts from Denis Glennon and John Heslin, they were no match for the home side and now Westmeath are in real danger of relegation from division two of the football league.
The Glennon’s who accounted for 1-07 of the visitor’s total were the major pockets of resistance of a side who were dominated almost from throw-in.
Westmeath were briefly in front early on through scores from Denis Glennon with two points from play and another from Ronan Foley. The home side were level in the ninth minute however as Eoghan O’Flaherty and Mikey Conway scored frees from either wing and O’Connor landed the hosts’ first point from play.
Kildare then upped the ante in midfield and were soon on top all over the park with Michael Foley setting up attack after attack and the visitors were simply no match for that power.
Westmeath weren’t getting the ball to danger man Denis Glennon. Kavanagh and O’Flaherty notched further points before Kavanagh’s 18th minute strike beat substitute goalkeeper Darren Quinn and the visitors looked to be in for a long afternoon.
A succession of points then sailed over the visitor’s crossbar as the home side’s lead edged towards double figures. Fair play to the visitors however, who showed great heart with Denis Glennon netting a penalty just before half-time following a foul on Kieran Martin.
Westmeath’s challenge fell away in the second-half however, despite the best efforts of Denis Glennon, who required a change of marker, in Ollie Lyons to keep tabs on him.
Kildare resumed with a point from Padraig O’Neill, in response to scores from Heslin and Denis Glennon. Points were not enough for Kieran McGeeney’s men and they were soon celebrating their second and third goals.
Kavanagh had provided a superb 40 yard pass for O’Connor’s goal and the former netted himself mid-way through the second half to make the score 3-17 - 1-09 in favour of the home side.
The game was well and truly won and the fit-again Dermot Earley was introduced as manager Kieran McGeeney emptied his bench ahead of their final round trip to Galway, with promotion and a place in a league final in the offing.
The prospects are very different for Westmeath however as they require victory over Down in the final round of matches to have even a mathematical possibility of avoiding relegation to division three.
KILDARE: S Connolly; O Lyons, P Kelly, M O’Flaherty; E Bolton, H McGrillen, B Flanagan(0-01); M Foley, P O’Neill (0-02); J Doyle, M Conway (0-06, 0-03 frees), E O’Flaherty (0-05); A Smith (0-03), T O’Connor (0-01), J Kavanagh (2-02).
Subs used: R Sweeney for O’Neill (52 mins), P Fogarty for Doyle (0-01), D Earley for Foley (both 56), G White for M O’Flaherty (60), K Ennis for Bolton (1-01) (64)
WESTMEATH: D Quinn; K Maguire, M Curley, P Sharry; D McDermott, A Finnan, B Moran; P Bannon, J Heslin (0-03, 0-03 frees); R Foley (0-01), G Egan, C McCormack; K Martin (0-01), Denis Glennon (0-07, 0-05 frees), David Glennon (1-00).
Subs used: D Gavin for McDermott (50 mins), K Sheridan for Moran (55), M Gorman for McCormack (60), A Giles for Egan (67)