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Champions Kildare canter past Athlone


Longford manager Jack Sheedy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Longford manager Jack Sheedy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Longford manager Jack Sheedy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

REIGNING champions Kildare got the defence of their O'Byrne Cup title off to a flying start with a 4-24 to 0-12 win over Athlone IT at St Conleth's Park.

Goals from Eoghan O'Flaherty and Adam Tyrell powered the Lilywhites to a 2-14 to 0-3 interval lead.

Jason Ryan's charges were fully on top throughout in Newbridge, with O'Flaherty and Pádraig Fogarty adding goals in the second half.

Longford were very impressive in their 1-19 to 2-7 win over Carlow at Dr Cullen Park. The winners powered to a 1-13 to 0-0 interval lead, with Francie McGee netting.

Carlow fought hard on the restart, and were rewarded with goals from Shane McGrath and Séamus Kinsella.

In Group A, two goals from Kevin O'Grady helped Wexford to a 2-13 to 0-11 win over Laois in New Ross. Despite shooting eight first-half wides, a ninth minute O'Grady goal helping Wexford to a 1-7 to 0-6 interval lead.

Laois cut the gap to the minimum after the break but Wexford added 1-5 without reply, including O'Grady's second goal. Ross Munnelly, meanwhile, has been named as Laois captain for 2014. Emmet McDonnell's second season as Offaly manager got off to a winning start, with a narrow 0-13 to 0-12 win over UCD in Tullamore.

Offaly had led by 0-10 to 0-5 at half-time, with Niall McNamee and Johnny Maloney among their scorers.

In Group C, goals were key as Meath claimed a 4-11 to 1-14 win over DIT at Páirc Tailteann. Mickey Newman and Dalton McDonagh both raised green flags in the opening half as Meath took a 2-6 to 0-6 interval lead. Wind-assisted DIT worked hard to cut the gap on the restart, with a Niall Scully score leaving four points between the sides. David Larkin completed the Royals' hat-trick soon after, and although Scully buried a penalty for DIT, Meath finished stronger with McDonagh netting their fourth goal.

Wicklow had to work hard before registering a 1-9 to 0-11 win over IT Carlow in Ashford. Harry Murphy's side had led by 1-6 to 0-6 at half-time, thanks to a Dean Odlum goal.

On Saturday night, DCU were comfortable 1-15 to 0-9 winners over Louth in Haggardstown, with Conor McGraynor's early goal giving DCU the platform to take control of the group D game.