Allianz NHL Division 2A Round 5
An absolute masterclass from Limerick man David Reidy helped Kildare come back from 11 points down to ensure they finished their league campaign on a high by beating London by 11 points in Clane this afternoon.
The talented midfielder scored 1-10 in a fabulous individual display, helping Kildare overturn the massive half-time deficit as they ran their opponents ragged by outscoring them by 1-15 to 0-3 in the second period.
Carlow's facile win over Armagh means that Kildare won't be playing in a league final, while it also ensured that London wouldn't be relegated to Division 2B, with the Orchard County falling through the trap door instead.
London couldn't have asked for a better start as they found the back of the Kildare net for the first time inside 30 seconds. It was a blistering start from the Exiles, and they had plundered 2-1 by the third minute to leave the home side completely shellshocked.
It was the lively Shane Lawless who found the net first for the visitors after he latched onto a brilliant crossfield pass from Gary Hill, and though he scuffed his initial effort, his follow up was accurate enough to nestle in the back of Paul Dermody's net.
Jack Sheridan's excellent point from the left wing looked to have settled Kildare down, but London struck back straight away through Kevin O'Loughlin, before he turned provider to set up Shane O'Donnell for the visitor's second goal.
Reidy pointed a free in response for the Lilywhites, but once again London's response was more effective, as Enda Cooney landed a huge point from distance before goalkeeper Eoin Kelly knocked over a monstrous free from inside his own '45. Reidy scored Kildare's best point of the half when he slotted over a score from the left wing after some exquisite control, but London continued to widen the gap with scores from Cooney and O'Loughlin.
The home side were really struggling to make the ball stick in the full-forward line, with only Brian Byrne winning ball close to goal, and the likes of Stephen Griffey and Paul Horkan were doing sterling work to keep the Kildare forward unit at bay.
It looked like Kildare were working a way back into the game when Reidy and Mark Delaney raised white flags in quick succession, but London reeled off the next four points in a row to maintain control of the tie. O'Loughlin and Neil Rogers were both on target either side of a couple of long range frees from goalkeeper Kelly, and London's lead was now into double digits for the first time as they roared into a 10-point advantage.
That lead was stretched to 11 points by the half-time whistle as Daryl Roberts and Cooney both pointed in response to another score from Reidy, leaving the Exiles with a 2-11 to 0-6 advantage at the interval.
Joe Quaid obviously read the riot act to his players during the time he had with them at the break, and they emerged a different side at the beginning of the second half. Led superbly by David Reidy, the home side outscored their opponents by 1-10 to 0-1 in the third quarter.
Reidy was inspirational during this period, kicking off their revival with a couple of scores right from the whistle, while Mark Delaney fired over two of his own immediately afterwards. O'Loughlin looked to have stemmed the flow of scores when he clipped over a close range free at the other end, but Reidy landed another three points in a row from frees as they drew to within four points. The Limerick man then slammed home a goal, and Richie Ryan's long range point shortly afterwards levelled matters for the first time in the game.
It was always going to be Kildare's to lose from that point onwards as they held all the momentum and London were clearly flagging, and when John Mulhall edged them ahead in the 58th minute the home side grew in confidence. Reidy struck a '65 before leaving the field through injury, meaning Mark Delaney took over free-taking duties.
London offered a brief response in the final stages with a couple of scores from O'Loughlin, but Brian Byrne, Paul Divilly and Jack Sheridan all added scores late on to keep the Exiles at arm’s length.
Scorers for Kildare: D Reidy 1-10(5f, 1'65), M Delaney 0-3(1f), J Sheridan 0-2, B Byrne, J Mulhall, P Divilly and R Ryan 0-1 each.
Scorers for London: K O'Loughlin 0-6(3f), E Kelly 0-4f, S Lawless and S O'Donnell 1-0 each, E Cooney 0-2, N Rogers 0-1.
P Dermody; C Forde, J Doran(D Stapleton HT), N O'Muineacháin; S Gainey(R Ryan 50mins), M Moloney, M Reidy; C Bonus, D Reidy(P Moloney 59mins); J Sheridan, P Divilly, P Moran(P Ryan 35mins); B Byrne, M Delaney(G Johnson 66mins), J Mulhall.
E Kelly; M Conroy, S Griffey, P Horkan; A Griffiths, B Regan, G Hill; N Rogers, E Cooney(O Sheil 55mins); R Murphy, T Healy, A Murphy(D Roberts 27mins); S Lawless(F Collins 48mins), K O'Loughlin, S O'Donnell.
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