Westmeath 1-12 Kildare 1-11

Brave Westmeath did it again at Croke Park with another remarkable comeback in a Leinster senior football championship semi-final to secure an unlikely provincial final place.

The Lake County famously came from ten points down against Meath to win last year and fought from six back this time to overcome Kildare.

That was a first ever win over Meath in Championship football and this is just Westmeath's second time to beat Kildare, their first coming way back in 1960.

James Dolan's 48th minute goal was crucial, hauling the Lake County back to level terms having trailed by six just minutes earlier.

Tom Cribbin's side surged three clear late on though were made to sweat as Kildare finished with back to back converted frees from Neil Flynn to leave just the minimum in it.

Westmeath held on and their reward is a Leinster final clash with Dublin, who proved much too strong for Meath in the second semi-final.

Westmeath opened brightly with points from Paul Sharry and John Heslin but a strong finish to the first-half from Kildare yielded three points in a row and left them with a 0-07 to 0-06 interval lead.

In truth, it wasn't football for the purist initially with both sides regularly getting 13 and 14 men behind the ball when the other attacked.

Kildare resorted to kicking from distance over Westmeath's packed defence and Adam Tyrrell nailed a beauty while Johnny Byrne pushed upfield from defence and grabbed another.

There was never more than two points in it in the first-half but Kildare put significant daylight between the teams after the restart.

The Lilywhites scored 1-02 without reply, including a 40th minute Tommy Moolick goal when he palmed in from close range after Flynn's ball across.

Westmeath looked rattled and went 20 minutes without scoring but fought back impressively to level the game before remarkably moving ahead.

Sharry and Ray Connellan fired three points between them before Dolan's 48th minute goal that levelled the game at 1-09 to 1-09.

It was a beauty too as Heslin began the move with a pass to Callum McCormack who fed Dolan in front of goals and he finished right footed from close range.

From a position of authority, Kildare crumbled and trailed by 1-11 to 1-09 entering the final 10 minutes of the game.

Westmeath would put three between them with a McCormack point though Kildare fought hard to rescue the game and reduced the deficit to just one, ensuring a tense final few minutes.

Westmeath: D Quinn; J Gonoud, K Maguire, K Daly; J Dolan (1-00), A Stone, F Boyle; G Egan, D Corroon; R Connellan (0-02), P Sharry (0-03, 0-01 45), D Lynch; J Connellan, J Heslin (0-04, 0-04f), K Martin (0-02).

Subs: J Egan for Martin (blood), C McCormack (0-01) for Stone, J Egan for J Connellan, R Foley for R Connellan, R Gorman for Maguire (BC).

Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, D Hyland, O Lyons; J Byrne (0-01), E Doyle, C O'Donoghue; T Moolick (1-00), F Conway (0-01); M O'Flaherty, E O'Flaherty (0-01), E Bolton (0-02); A Tyrrell (0-01), N Kelly (0-01), N Flynn (0-04, 0-04f).

Subs: C McNally for Tyrrell, K Murnaghan for Bolton, C Healy for Kelly (BC), C Fitzpatrick for O'Donoghue, E Callaghan for E O'Flaherty, R Houlihan for Byrne.

Referee: D O'Mahoney (Tipperary)