Without reaching any great heights, Westmeath always looked the more likely winners in a somewhat low-key Allianz Hurling League Division 2A clash in TEG Cusack Park, Mullingar.
Westmeath had the aid of a strong - but swirling - wind in the first half, but they failed to dominate the play and they only led by 0-03 to 0-01 at the end of a poor opening quarter, the only scores from play coming from the home duo of Ciaran Doyle and Cormac Boyle.
The fare was not much better in the second quarter, but Westmeath pounced for crucial goals in the 23rd and 27th minutes with the towering Niall Mitchell heavily involved in both.
The first three-pointer came when Mitchell caught a quickly-taken free by Killian Doyle and he gave Louis Dee no chance from close range. Four minutes later, Mitchell fielded a lengthy delivery from Tommy Doyle and he was fouled inside the parallelogram. Jack Gillen superbly converted the resultant penalty. Kerry were wasteful in the first moiety, shooting eight wides to their opponents' five. Westmeath led by 2-06 to 0-06 at the interval.
The home side started the second half in impressive fashion with a point from the hard-working Kevin Regan after just 15 seconds. Gillen added a point from a free before he scored a great individual goal in the 39th minute to put his team ahead by 3-08 to 0-06.
The lead was still 11 points after 50 minutes (3-10 to 0-08), but Kerry came right back into contention by scoring an unanswered 1-04 by the 57th minute. The points came via Shane Conway (two, including a free), the impressive Paudie Ahern, and Gavin Dooley, with Mikey Boyle availing of a defensive mistake to find the net in the 54th minute.
Former Galway player Davy Glennon had an impressive 20-minute cameo for Westmeath until he picked up an injury, but another sub Derek McNicholas also showed touches of class, and Westmeath kept the scoreboard ticking over to emerge as deserving six-point winners against one of their main promotion rivals.
Westmeath: Noel Conaty; Darragh Egerton, Tommy Doyle, Conor Shaw; Aaron Craig, Aonghus Clarke, Charlie McCormack; Cormac Boyle (0-01), Shane McGovern (0-01); Kevin Regan (0-02), Joey Boyle, Niall Mitchell (1-00); Killian Doyle (0-01, '65'), Jack Gillen (2-06, 1-00 pen, 0-05fs), Ciaran Doyle (0-02).
Subs: Jack Galvin (0-01) for McCormack (inj., 34), Davy Glennon for J Boyle (h-t), Derek McNicholas (0-01) for C Doyle (50), Shane Williams for Glennon (inj., 57), Alan Cox for McGovern (67).
Kerry: Louis Dee; Sean Weir, Fionan MacKessy (0-01), Eric Leen; Eoin Ross, Conor O'Keeffe, Colin Walsh; Michael Leane (0-01), Shane Conway (0-05, 0-04fs); Shane Nolan (0-01), Mikey Boyle (1-00), Colum Harty; Gavin Dooley (0-01), Paudie Ahern (0-04, 0-01f), Mark Heffernan (0-02, 0-01f).
Subs: Podge Boyle for Heffernan (h-t), Jordan Conway for Harty (47), Fionnan O’Sullivan for Nolan (65), Niall Mulcahy for J Conway (inj., 68).
Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway).