Kirby finds range for Kildalkey
DEFENDING champions Kildalkey retained their crown with a convincing display at Pairc Tailteann.
The five-point winning margin was hardly a fair reflection as the holders dominated in all the crucial areas of the pitch, despite some wayward finishing in the opening period.
They built up a healthy lead and at half-time were seven points clear, 1-11 to 1-4, as Noel Kirby contributed some fine scores from long-range frees.
Their goal came on 18 minutes when Dan Fagan fielded a Padraig Geoghegan delivery, before blasting to the net.
Kilmessan responded with a goal from Kevin Keena two minutes later but they struggled to keep up with the pace.
Enda Keogh and Mairtin Doran both excelled in the Kildalkey defence while Sean Heavey shot five second-half points, all from play.
Nicky Horan was Kilmessan's main threat but their second goal came direct from a '65' by keeper Christopher Curtis in added time.
Scorers -- Kildalkey: N Kirby 0-6 (0-5f), S Heavey 0-5, D Doran 0-4, D Fagan 1-1, P Geoghegan, D Brady 0-2 each, G Kelly 0-1. Kilmessan: N Horan 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 '65'), C Curtis ('65'), K Keena 1-0 each, G O'Neill, D Maguire, S Clynch, E Marsh, P O'Brien, C Keena 0-1 each.
KILDALKEY -- G McNally; C Dunne, S Forde, D LaHart; M Keogh, E Keogh, M Doran; P Keogh, G Kelly; D Brady, N Kirby, P Geoghegan; D Doran, D Fagan, S Heavey. Subs: S Corrigan for Brady (59), P Conneely for D Doran (60).
KILMESSAN -- C Curtis; M Horan, J Keena, P McGovern; D Donnelly, S Clynch, P Farrell; P Reynolds, R Donnelly; N Horan, E Marsh, K Keena; C Keena, G O'Neill, D Maguire. Subs: P O'Brien for Reynolds ((40), P Burke for R Donnelly (59).
REF -- G O'Brien.