Kildare weather storm to see off Carlow
Kildare 0-16 Carlow 1-6
Kildare adapted well to the game's latest tweaks with Jimmy Hyland and Neil Flynn on song in attack to get their season off to a flier with a commanding O'Byrne Cup victory over Carlow at St Conleth's Park, Newbridge yesterday.
Kildare played with the aid of a stiff breeze in the first half in difficult conditions and hit the ground running from the off, with Paul Cribbin and Kevin Feely dominating possession from midfield. The 'mark' was used to great effect while Hyland, this year's U-20 Player of the Year, brilliantly utilised the 'offensive mark' with three superb first-half points, each created by an angled delivery straight to hand.
That helped Kildare into an unassailable 0-11 to 0-2 half-time lead and while Darren Lunney's 40th-minute goal gave the visitors some hope, it was one-way traffic throughout.
In a repeat of this year's shock Leinster SFC quarter-final where Carlow secured their first provincial defeat of Kildare since 1953, the home side started brightly with scores from Ben McCormack and Flynn. McCormack was sin-binned in the first quarter but it had little effect on proceedings with Hyland on target, while the returning Eoghan O'Flaherty and Flynn left them in complete control after 20 minutes, 0-8 to nil. Daniel St Ledger opened the account for Turlough O'Brien's side in the 26th minute with a free but O'Flaherty, McCormack and Kevin Feely helped Kildare into a nine-point half-time advantage.
Carlow woke from their slumber upon the resumption with Lunney whipping to the net from close range after a long sideline was flicked into his path and they cut the gap to five through Brendan Murphy and Darragh Foley, 0-12 to 1-4.
That was as good as it got, however, as the Lilies weathered the storm to kick the next three points, while the game ended on a sour note with Carlow defender Conor Lawlor suffering a nasty injury which required extensive treatment.
Scorers - Kildare: N Flynn 0-6 (5f), J Hyland 0-3, B McCormack and E O'Flaherty 0-2 each, K Feely, T Moolick, C Hartley 0-1 each. Carlow: D Lunney 1-0, D Foley 0-3f, B Murphy 0-2, D St Ledger 0-1f.
Kildare: M Donnellan; M Dempsey, M Barrett, M Hyland; C O'Donoghue, E Doyle, K Cribbin; K Feely, P Cribbin; D Slattery, E O'Flaherty, C Hartley; J Hyland, B McCormack, N Flynn. Subs: B McCormack BC (12-22), T Moolick for Feely and P Fogarty for B McCormack (both half-time), P Nash for O'Flaherty (59), B McLoughlin for J Hyland (60), J Gibbons for Slattery (61), DJ Earley for O'Donoghue, A Tyrrell for M Dempsey, J O'Toole for M Hyland and D Malone for Hartley (all 73).
Carlow: C Kearney; C Lawlor, S Redmond, J Murphy; K Nolan,C Crowley, D Lunney; B Murphy, S Doyle; D Moran, D Foley, C Doyle; C Crowley, D St Ledger, L Walker.
Subs: R Kane for Crowley (26), J Moore for K Nolan (47), J Clarke for Kane (blood 48), E McGrath for Doyle (59), C Moran for Lowry (63), J Kennedy for Lawlor inj (73), D Thompson for C Doyle (73).
Referee: G Hurley (Westmeath)
Sunday Indo Sport