Monday 19 February 2018

Egan leads the charge as rampant Kingdom enjoy Leinster debut

Kerry 2-19 Carlow 0-17

Kerry’s Mikey Boyle with his two-year-old son Bobby after the game against Carlow in the Leinster SHC Round 1 qualifier Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry’s Mikey Boyle with his two-year-old son Bobby after the game against Carlow in the Leinster SHC Round 1 qualifier Photo: Sportsfile
Richard Kelly, Carlow, in action against Brendan O'Leary, Kerry Photo: Sportsfile
Sean Murphy, Carlow, in action against Michael O'Leary, Kerry Photo: Sportsfile

History was made at Austin Stack Park as Kerry cruised past Carlow in their Leinster Senior Hurling Championship debut.

It was Kerry's first taste of Liam MacCarthy Cup action since 2004 and while they fell well below the high standards they set themselves in the Division 1B this season, it was still easily enough to beat the disappointing Barrowsiders.

Kerry were better in the second half, once Brendan O'Leary was introduced to help out his overworked and closely guarded brother Michael, coupled with big performances at midfield by John Griffin and Daniel Collins.


The result was never in doubt, once Shane Nolan sidefooted to the Carlow net in the 42nd minute.

Kerry were always comfortable after this despite not firing on all cylinders but solid displays at the back by Darren Dineen, Tom Murnane and Jason Diggins ensured that Carlow never got a sniff of a goal chance.

Meanwhile, the Kerry attack picked off scores with regularity, with young substitute Jordan Conway, firing over two superb points from the side-line.

Carlow had the wind to their backs in an opening half which was notable for the fact they the visitors shot 13 wides, with a conversion rate of only 35pc.

Even if they had taken half of their chances, they might well have made Kerry sweat.

In fact Kerry led 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval due mainly to the crucial score of the half in the 13th minute, when John Griffin won a break and sent Colum Harty racing through; he placed John Egan, who fired home a superb goal.

Carlow dominated the second quarter but their shooting was atrocious and all they could add before the interval was two Martin Kavanagh frees and a point from play by John Michael Nolan.

Kerry were clearly told some home truths at half-time by team boss Ciaran Carey because they hurled much better in the second period.

Nolan had one from play and from a free on either side of Kerry's second goal when he kicked a Brendan O'Leary delivery to the net, with Richard Kelly keeping Carlow in touch with a point in the 39th minute.

Egan and Hugh O'Byrne swapped points, before Kerry - with the O'Leary brothers to the fore - went on a 0-7 to 0-2 run.

With ten to go, they led 2-16 to 0-13 with Griffin, Conway, Michael O'Leary, Jack Goulding and Mikey Boyle all adding to the scoreboard, as Carlow tired.

Kerry cruised to victory, without every reaching the heights of recent outings.

Kerry now face yesterday's other winners Westmeath next weekend while Carlow play Offaly away.

Scorers - Kerry: S Nolan 1-4 (0-3fs), J Egan 1-3, J Griffin 0-3, J Goulding, M Boyle, J Conway 0-2 each, D Dineen (f), D Collins, M O'Leary 0-1 each.
Carlow: M Kavanagh 0-8 (6fs), R Kelly, JM Nolan 0-2 each, J Kavanagh, Sean Murphy, Seamus Murphy, J Doyle (f), HP O'Byrne 0-1 each.
KERRY - A McCabe; B Murphy, P Kelly, K Carmody; J Diggins, D Dineen, T Murnane; J Griffin, D Collins; C Harty, M O'Leary, S Nolan; J Goulding, M Boyle, J Egan. Subs: B Brosnan for Murnane (16-19), B O'Leary for Harty (18, inj), J Conway for Nolan (46, inj), J O'Connor for B O'Leary, B Barrett for Goulding (68), D Fitzell for Murphy (69).
CARLOW - B Treacy; G Coady, M Ryan, A Corcoran; D Byrne, R Coady, J O'Hara; J Kavanagh, R Kelly; Sean Murphy, M Kavanagh, K McDonald; JM Nolan, J Doyle, Seamus Murphy. Subs: R Smithers for J Kavanagh (22, inj), HP O'Byrne for Seamus Murphy (50), C Lawlor for McDonald (69).
Ref - C Lyons (Cork)

Irish Independent

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