Thursday 23 January 2020

Mercurial Keegan the key as Lilywhites cruise

Kildare comfortably saw off Mayo with a 1-23 to 0-16 victory in the first round of the Christy Ring Cup in Newbridge yesterday.

Kildare comfortably saw off Mayo with a 1-23 to 0-16 victory in the first round of the Christy Ring Cup in Newbridge yesterday.

The home side, led by the mercurial Gerry Keegan who finished with seven points from play, led by four points at the interval, 0-12 to 0-8. Early second-half points from Keegan and Bernard Deay extended that lead before Deay rattled the net in the 47th minute for the only goal of the game.

Keith Higgins and former minor football star Sean Regan kept Mayo in touch during the second half but Kildare saw out the game with four unanswered points from play to rubber-stamp a comprehensive victory.

Meanwhile, Kerry led from start to finish in their first outing, but had to withstand a strong Down comeback before winning on a scoreline of 3-16 to 2-17 in Newry yesterday.

Kerry led by six points, 2-11 to 1-8 at half-time, but Down closed the gap to a single point with time almost up before veteran Liam Boyle settled Kerry nerves with a monster point in injury-time.

Elsewhere, Meath's 1-20 to 2-10 win over Armagh at Trim was their third competitive victory over the Orchard County this year. Armagh, who were last year's Nicky Rackard Cup winners, led 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

A Barry Slevin goal drew the sides level on 57 minutes and the hosts notched seven unanswered points after that for a clear-cut win.

Derry also advanced to the next round with a 1-11 to 1-9 win over Wicklow. It was a game that never rose to any great heights, and wing-back Gary Byrne, of Wicklow, was sent off in the 23rd minute after receiving a second yellow card. Derry led 1-4 to 0-3 at half-time, Oisin McCloskey netting in the 1th minute. Wicklow's goal came via an Andy O'Brien penalty after 62 minutes.

NICKY RACKARD CUP

Tyrone produced a spirited performance to score a narrow 1-11 to 0-12 win over Louth in the first round of the Nicky Rackard Cup at Carrickmore yesterday.

Four Brian Corcoran scores helped Louth to a three-point lead, but a Kiefer Morgan goal just before half-time sent the home side in with a 1-5 to 0-5 advantage. Diarmuid Murphy led a Louth fightback with four points, but a seven-point tally from Damien Casey saw the Red Hands through.

Roscommon also earned a victory yesterday when they defeated Sligo 1-18 to 0-14. A stunning goal by Gerry Fallon in the 51st minute sealed their win at Athleague. Fallon drilled an unstoppable shot to the net from 20 metres after being set up by Robbie Fallon.

Fallon's accuracy from long range helped the home team to a 0-13 to 0-5 lead at half-time. Despite being backed by the wind, Sligo didn't threaten in the second half despite a late scoring surge that was inspired by Colin Herrity and Brendan Kenny.

LORY MEAGHER CUP

Fermanagh got their campaign off to a winning start with a 3-13 to 0-12 win over Leitrim. Leitrim's Zak Moradi was sent off on a straight red. Fermanagh took full advantage to lead by 1-6 to 0-7 at half-time. Clement Cunniffe and Sean Fox scored to level the game after 40 minutes but a Shea Curran goal five minutes later halted the Leitrim comeback.

Meanwhile, Warwickshire made the perfect start by beating Longford. Sean Hennessey was star of the show in the 1-15 to 1-10 win for the Exiles, his second-half penalty combined with 10 points ensured the victory after Joe O'Brien gave the visitors a first-half lead with the opening goal of the game.

Hennessey blasted a penalty high into the roof of the net five minutes into the second half to give the home side the impetus. The Warwickshire marksman was making the difference on the score sheet, two more frees in the space of two minutes stretched the home lead to four before Donnellan could land a reply at the other end.

Brendan Stakem and Michael Bermingham were dismissed with 10 minutes left, yet ultimately it was the home side who capped off a solid opening afternoon thanks to points from Chris Brough and Hennessey once more.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The Saracens scandal, Leinster's nightmare draw and Andy Farrell's tough calls

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport