Christy Ring Cup quarter-final
The scoreboard doesn't really telly the full story at the end of this one. Kildare trailed by just three points going into the final 10 minutes against Carlow, but with just 14 men on the field it was always likely to be a tough ask for the Lilywhites to make up the large deficit they faced midway through the second half.
It means the season is over as early as May 6 for Joe Quaid's side, a quite preposterous notion, but two defeats in seven days means that they crash out of the Christy Ring Cup at the last eight stage.
They began the game without the influential Reidy brothers who were on club duty in Limerick, while Kilkenny man John Mulhall was also in action with St Martin's in the Kilkenny club championship, and combined with the loss of Mark Delaney through injury, this was always going to be a difficult proposition against a strong Carlow outfit.
While Kildare hung in impressively during the first half, but it was the final 10 minutes of the half that was ultimately their undoing, along with some relatively soft frees being given by referee Mick Murtagh, which allowed Denis Murphy to slot over eight points from placed balls.
It was Murphy who opened the scoring when he launched over a monstrous free from 80 metres in the first minute, but Michael Purcell responded three minutes later with a fine effort for Kildare. Both teams traded points once again through a Paul Divilly free, but Diarmuid Byrne also sent over a huge score for the visitors.
Kildare were creating plenty of chances up top, and Purcell added his second in the 14th minute before Divilly did likewise with another free as Kildare went 0-4 to 0-3 up midway through the half. Carlow reeled off a couple of points through Jack Murphy and Jon Michael Nolan, but Brian Byrne's excellent effort ensure matters remained level on the 20 minute mark.
Carlow saw out the half in fine fashion form that point onwards though, and they outscored their hosts by 0-9 to 0-2 to take command of the game. They didn't do anything spectacular to wrestle control, but their full-forward line began showing for the ball a bit more and Kildare's propensity to give away scoreable frees hurt their chances.
Murphy landed a couple of quick frees before Paul Coady and James Doyle scored from play, with just Divilly's lone free to come in response. It didn't get any better before the end of the half as Murphy tagged on another three points from placed balls and Doyle added his second, though Jack Sheridan pointed a close range free for Kildare left the scoreline reading 0-14 to 0-7 in Carlow's favour at the break.
Carlow opened the scoring almost straight away after the restart as Paul Coady knocked over a score, but Divilly responded with a brilliant point from the left wing to get the scoreboard ticking for Kildare once again. Joe Quaid's side were dealt a blow then however when Conor Gordon received a second yellow for a foul on Doyle, while goalkeeper Paul Dermody was booked for his protestations.
When Murphy and James Kavanagh pointed either side of a free from Divilly to sent Carlow into an eight-point lead with 25 minutes left to play it looked like Kildare were dead and buried, but they began to conjure up a fine comeback as they owned the next 10 minutes of the game. The excellent Purcell started the revival with a good score after being picked out brilliantly by Byrne, before Sheridan added his second point from a dead ball. Another score from Purcell and a free apiece from Divilly and Sheridan drew the gap to one score as Carlow led by just 0-17 to 0-14 entering the final 10 minutes.
Whether it was the numerical disadvantage or the fact that Carlow upped their game, Kildare's challenge tailed off in the final 10 minutes badly. They probably need a goal but Carlow, with Gary Bennett acting as their sweeper due to the extra man, saw the game out well and finished by hitting 1-3 without reply.
Substitutes Eddie Byrne and Chris Nolan both hit the target, while Doyle hit a goal in the final minute to add a bit of gloss to the Carlow tally as they marched into the final four for a meeting with Wicklow.
Scorers for Kildare: P Divilly 0-6(5f), M Purcell and J Sheridan(4f) 0-4 each, B Byrne 0-1.
Scorers for Carlow: D Murphy 0-10f, P Coady (1f) and M Kavanagh 0-4 each, J Doyle 1-2, C Nolan, J Murphy, D Byrne, J Nolan and E Byrne 0-1 each.
P Dermody; C Forde(D Stapleton 50mins), J Doran, C Gordon; P Ryan, M Moloney, N O'Muineacháin; R Bergin, P Divilly; M Purcell, P Crone(S Gainey 68mins), C Bonus; B Byrne, R Ryan, J Sheridan.
J Carroll; A Corcoran, P Doyle, G Bennett; R Coady, D English, D Byrne(G Coady 66mins); J Kavanagh, R Kelly; J Nolan, M Kavanagh, J Doyle; D Murphy(C Nolan 60mins), J Murphy, P Coady(R Smithers 69mins).
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