Kelly lands killer blow as Kildare topple Tipp
Kildare 2-13 Tipperary1-5
Cian O'Neill's Kildare moved within touching distance of promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz Football League with a comfortable 11-point victory over Tipperary in Clonmel yesterday.
The Lilywhites led by nine points at the break and despite a brief second-half rally from the hosts, Kildare were able to keep their opponents at arm's length as weather conditions deteriorated.
Kildare's win should be enough ahead of next weekend's clash with Clare but results elsewhere later today could leave Kildare with some work to do, even though it would take a pretty serious turn of events for them not to make the leap back to Division 2.
Kildare were 1-7 to 0-1 clear at half-time, their goal coming from a fortuitous Niall Kelly effort in the 17th minute.
Kelly arrowed in a low, diagonal ball from the right touchline, aimed for the Kildare inside men, and it went all the way into the net, deceiving Tipperary goalkeeper Evan Comerford.
In fact, it was Tipp who had the better goal chances in the opening half, as Philip Austin screwed a shot wide in the very first minute before full-back Alan Campbell, marauding forward to take a pass from Austin, saw his close-range effort saved by Mark Donnellan seven minutes before the break.
It was a luckless first half for Tipp as corner-forward Conor Sweeney endured a nightmare time on frees and the hosts finished with just a single point before the break - Kevin Fahey coming forward from defence to register a 26th-minute score.
The problem for Tipp was that Kildare were 1-6 to 0-0 ahead before Fahey pointed and the game was effectively done and dusted in front of a bumper crowd in Tipperary Town.
Adam Tyrell was impressive in the half-forward line for Kildare and after kicking the opening score of the game, from a free, he added two points from play before the interval.
But it was Kelly's goal that was the killer blow for Tipperary as Kildare, playing with a breeze at their backs in the opening half, established a matchwinning lead.
They would hold on for another win and while Tipp did show some fight after half-time, Daniel Flynn netted a second goal for Kildare with 18 minutes left.
Tipperary responded within a minute with a goal from Fahey, set up by captain Peter Acheson, but the result was beyond any doubt by then but Kildare lost Flynn to a hamstring injury before the finish.
Tipp now face a huge battle to gain promotion with a cluster of teams on six points each with a game more played.
Scorers - Kildare: D Flynn 1-2, N Kelly 1-0, A Tyrell (1f) & E O'Flaherty (1f, 1 45) 0-3 each, T Moolick & P Cribbin 0-2 each, E Callaghan 0-1. Tipperary: K Fahey 1-1, A Moloney 0-2 (1f), M Quinlivan & P Austin 0-1 each.
Tipperary: E Comerford; C O'Shaughnessy, A Campbell, C McDonald; J Feehan, R Kiely, K Fahey; A Moloney, M Dunne; J Keane, P Acheson, J Lonergan; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, P Austin. Subs: B Hewitt for Sweeney (h-t), G Hannigan for Dunne (54), I Fahey for Moloney (58), S Leahy for Campbell (67).
Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, C Fitzpatrick, O Lyons; D Hyland, F Conway, C O'Donoghue; K Feely, T Moolick; A Tyrell, N Kelly, E O'Flaherty; D Flynn, P Cribbin, E Callaghan. Subs: J Byrne for O'Donoghue (h-t), P O'Neill for Flynn (58), A Smith for Tyrell (64), K Murnaghan for Conway (67), R Kelly for Cribbin (70+1).
Referee: N Mooney (Cavan)
Sunday Indo Sport