IT Carlow 4-17
Walsh Cup round one
Kildare's first outing in the Walsh Cup proved to be too much of a step up in class for a Lilywhites side that was severely depleted in terms of the number of frontline players available to Joe Quaid. Aside from the massive loss of Gerry Keegan, who has moved to Australia, Kildare were without a number of players who would be considered to be certain starters on this team.
They had to persevere with what was available however, and they were well short of the mark when it came to taking on an IT Carlow side that will enter the Fitzgibbon Cup as one of the favourites this year. They stayed in touch for long stages, trailing by just 0-10 to 0-7 at the break, but the visitors were pretty wasteful in truth and struck 12 wides during the game.
Kildare were incredibly lucky not to be further behind at the break as they lost many of the 50/50 battles around the field, while some of the handling errors that were made by the home side would usually be brutally punished by better teams than this IT Carlow side.
Kildare won very few of their own puc outs in the first half too, as the students' half-back line mopped up every breaking ball that was falling under the likes of Peter Moran and Paul Divilly.
That being said, Kildare were certainly more economical than their counterparts when it came to taking their chances, and their tally of three wides in comparison to IT Carlow's seven was part of the reason that they trailed by just three points.
Brian Byrne showed ruthless efficiency as he split the posts with a fine effort from 60 metres out on the left wing after just 18 seconds, which would have settled Kildare into the game nicely. A free from the highly accurate Stephen Maher cancelled that point out, but another Naas man, Sean Gainey, soon had Kildare back in the lead as he landed a superb long range point.
A couple of points from roving wing-forward Charles Dwyer but the visitors into the lead for the first time, and they never let Kildare regain the lead from that moment until the final whistle. Paul Divilly and Maher traded scores, while Clane goalkeeper Paddy McKenna also showed fabulous reflexes to dive and parry away a thunderous shot from Waterford senior star Colin Dunford.
Jack Sheridan stroked over the score of the game after he displayed some fine skill to break down the left wing with the sliotar glued to his hurl, before then flicking the ball over from a tight angle under pressure. Maher immediately cancelled that out with another score, but a free from Mark Delaney brought Kildare to within one point once again.
IT Carlow took over proceedings for the remainder of the half, though they only managed a further four points before the turnaround as Maher chipped in with two frees while Dunford and Thomas Maher slotted over a point apiece. Two converted frees from the impressive Delaney kept the Lilywhites in touch going into the break as IT Carlow led by 0-10 to 0-7.
Kildare manager Joe Quaid would have been hopeful that his side would continue to stay in touch with the College Division 1 League champions, but the game was well and truly over within 13 minutes of restart as IT Carlow struck 2- compared to Kildare's response of 0-3 to open up an 1-point lead.
The early signs in the second half were pleasing as Delaney scored a couple of frees to cancel out scores from Maher and substitute Kevin Kelly, but the away side plundered 2-2 in the space four minutes to put the game to bed. A second point from Kilkenny senior star Kelly began the purple patch, while James Doyle notched his only score of the game soon after.
Wing-forward Martin Kavanagh then blasted home two near identical goals after cutting through a weary looking Kildare defence, and that was that. The number of IT Carlow substitutes reached farcical levels for the remainder of the game as they emptied their bench and used full use of the unlimited substitutes rule in place in this competition.
Kildare managed to stem the tied briefly, but a Stephen Maher goal put them 3-17 to 0-12 up on the hour mark as the scoreline entered cricket territory. Goals from Richie Ryan and Paul Divilly -both of which were fantastic finishes- put some respectability on the scoreline, but a late John Fitzpatrick goal added another layer of gloss to the IT Carlow win.
Scorers for Kildare: M Delaney 0-7(5f, '65, 1f), P Divilly 1-2, R Ryan 1-0f, B Byrne 0-2, S Gainey, P Moran and J Sheridan 0-1 each.
Scorers for IT Carlow: S Maher 1-7(7f), M Kavanagh 2-1, C Dwyer 0-3, J Fitzpatrick 1-1, K Kelly 0-2, J Doyle, C Dunford and T Maher 0-1 each.
P McKenna; C Forde, J Doran, N Ó'Muineacáin; S Gainey(C Dervan 63mins), M Moloney, K Connor(G Johnson ht); R Bergin, J Sheridan(P Ryan 54mins); P Moran, P Divilly, B Byrne; R Ryan(T Forde 63mins), M Delaney, C Bonus.
E Rowland; R Brown, K Hannafin(S Casey ht), D Palmer(S Phelan ht); W Young(M O'Hanlon 50mins), D Healy(J Cranny 56mins), D O'Hanlon(R Moran ht); T Maher, C Dunford; M Kavanagh(J Fitzpatrick 53mins), J Doyle, C Dwyer(M Dowling 67mins); C Bolger(K Kelly ht), S Maher(A Mortimer 67mins), J Fagan.
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