Boyle gives Kerry edge to book final rematch
Kerry 3-14 Carlow 0-17
Maybe there was a hint of shadow-boxing going on at Austin Park as unbeaten Kerry won out against their old manager John Meyler and a Carlow side without their Mount Leinster Rangers players.
But nobody can quibble with the result and neither can anyone find fault with this new-look Kingdom outfit, who appear to be growing in confidence under new boss Eamonn Kelly.
The conditions militated against good hurling, but Kerry dominated the opening 20 minutes, thanks to the midfield dominance of Darragh O'Connell and Colm Harty, who scored two points apiece from play in this half. And it was Harty who set up Padraig Boyle for a seventh-minute goal.
Two Sean Murphy strikes from play and three David English frees closed the gap to three points just before half-time. But a speculative O'Connell cross ended up in the Carlow net to give the Kingdom a 2-8 to 0-8 interval cushion.
Carlow, though already in the league final, exploded into action on the resumption, with four unanswered points from Murphy (2) and frees from English and Marty Kavanagh cutting the deficit to two.
But Kerry dominated the rest of the game and a brilliant goal from man of the match Mikey Boyle 10 minutes from time ensured that Kerry and Carlow will meet again in the league final in three weeks' time.
Scorers – Kerry: D O Connell 1-3, S Nolan 0-5 (4fs), M Boyle 1-1, P Boyle 1-0, C Harty 0-2, D Collins, D Butler, B Brosnan 0-1 each. Carlow: D English 0-7 (7fs), S Murphy 0-5, J Doyle 0-2, M Kavanagh (f), C Wall, A Gaule 0-1 each.
Kerry – N Leen, B Murphy, J Casey, T Casey, S Weir, D Dineen, K Carmody, D O Connell, C Harty, M Boyle, D Collins, S Nolan, P Boyle, A Boyle, P O Connor. Subs: D Butler for A Boyle (34), P Lucid for P O Connor (h/t), B Brosnan for P Boyle (62), T Murnane for J Casey (62), A Fealy for T Casey (67).
Carlow – K Kehoe, C McCabe, P Doyle, A Corcoran, P Nolan, D English, M Doyle, J Kavanagh, C Wall, S Murphy, J Doyle, S Kavanagh, A Gaule, M Kavanagh, P Kehoe. Subs: R Smithers for A Gaule (46), D Roberts for S Kavanagh (56), D Dalton for M Kavanagh (56)
REF – C Lyons (Cork)