Monday 23 April 2018

Kildare pull away to land the prize

Kildare 0-22 Meath 0-17

Martin Fitzgerald, Kildare, in action against Jack Fagan, Meath
Martin Fitzgerald, Kildare, in action against Jack Fagan, Meath
Willie McGrath, Meath, shoots wide under pressure from John Doran, Kildare
Paul Divilly, Kildare, in action against Michael Dunne, left, and Stephen Morris, Meath

Paul Keane

Mark Delaney shot eight points in Mullingar as Christy Ring Cup holders Kildare made an immediate return to Division 2A of the Allianz Hurling League.

Brian Lawlor's side scored 11 points in either half to claim the Division 2B title and finish the campaign with a 100 per cent record. Their second Division 2B final win in four seasons was always on the cards as they led for the majority of the game.

But Meath gave a strong account of themselves. Kildare raced three clear early on and Delaney's third free left them 0-6 to 0-4 up after 17 minutes.

Meath finally drew level in the 22nd minute at 0-7 apiece and a tit-for-tat encounter ensued until early in the second half. Jack Regan shot eight first-half points for Meath, who trailed 0-11 to 0-10 at the break.

Four unanswered Kildare scores from Paul Divilly, Evan Dempsey, Leo Quinn and Delaney after the restart ultimately put them in control.

Meath chased goals late on but Regan was twice denied as Kildare held out.

Scorers - Kildare: M Delaney 0-8 (0-8f), L Quinn 0-5, E Dempsey 0-3, B Deay 0-2, J Byrne, E O'Neill, P Divilly, R Casey 0-1 each. Meath: J Regan 0-10 (0-5f, 0-1 pen, 0-1 65), G Kelly 0-2, W McGrath, J Toher, J Fagan, A Douglas, A Gannon 0-1 each.

Kildare: P Dermody: N O Muineachain, M Grace, J Doran; D Stapleton, M Fitzgerald, E O'Neill; M Moloney, P Divilly; M Delaney, L Quinn, J Byrne; B Deay, N Kenny, E Dempsey. Subs: R Casey for Kenny (65).

Meath: C Bird; C Reilly, S Brennan, N McLoughlin; K Keoghan, D Healy, S Whitty; P Keogh, J Toher; S Morris, G Kelly, J Regan; W McGrath, M Dunne, A Douglas. Subs: J Fagan for Dunne (h/t), S Heavey for Morris (h/t), A Gannon for Kelly (67).

Referee: C Cunning (Antrim)

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