Kildare start slow but eventually cruise past Longford
Niall Kelly’s first half goal saw them on their way as the defending champions were beaten
Kildare’s Niall Kelly and Keith Cribbin with Diarmuid Masterson and Andrew Farrell of Longford during their O’Byrne Cup clash. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Kildare 1-15 Longford 0-12
Kildare recovered from a slow start to record an opening round victory against last year’s champions Longford, Niall Kelly’s expertly-taken goal giving them a 1-7 to 0-7 lead at half-time, despite having conceded the first three points.
Longford set up defensively but in Robbie Smyth, had a player with a keen eye for the posts, and the Abbeylara forward kicked three wonderful first-half points.
The returning Seanie McCormack advertised his dead-ball kicking abilities with another three scores but the visitors wasted a gilt-edged goal chance when they sliced through the heart of the Kildare defence but Liam Connerton was denied by a combination of Mark Donnellan and Mick O’Grady.
Conor Hartley, Fionn Dowling and Ben McCormack helped Kildare settle before Kelly drilled a low shot beyond Paddy Collum in the 30th minute, after good work by full-forward colleagues McCormack and Neil Flynn.
Kildare continued the momentum into the second half and as the gaps started appearing, the likes of Hartley, Flynn, Dowling and Ben McCormack capitalised.
Scorers – Kildare: F Dowling 0-5(4fs); N Flynn, B McCormack, C Hartley 0-3 each; N Kelly 1-0; F Conway 0-1. Longford: R Smyth (1f), S McCormack (3fs) 0-5 each; P Collum (45), G Rogers 0-1 each.
KILDARE: M Donnellan, P Kelly, D Hyland, M O’Grady, S Ryan, E Doyle, J Byrne, T Moolick, F Dowling, F Conway, C Hartley, K Cribbin, N Flynn, N Kelly, B McCormack. Subs: O Lyons for Byrne inj (ht), E Heavey for Cribbin (56), D Slattery for Conway (58), P Connell for Kelly (63), S Hurley for Flynn (69), E Callaghan for Slattery blood (70+1).
LONGFORD: P Collum, P McGee, A Farrell, C Farrelly, B Gilleran, P McCormack, B McKeon, D Gallagher, B O’Farrell, L Sullivan, R Smyth, D Masterson, M Hughes, L Connerton, S McCormack. Subs: P Kiernan for Sullivan (ht), J McGivney for Masterson (49), G Rogers for Hughes (54), D Brady for McGee (62), J Keegan for McKeon (63), B O’Farrell for Connerton (63).
Referee: B Tiernan (Longford).