TJ Reid leads Kilkenny’s first-half demolition of Carlow

Colm Bonnar’s side bounce back with much stronger second-half showing

Carlow 1-14 Kilkenny 3-22

Kilkenny's hurlers struck for a Colin Fennelly goal on 18 seconds of this Leinster SHC tie to signal an early scoring rush from Brian Cody's men at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday. But after a traumatic opening half, Carlow gave a hugely creditable second-half performance to outscore their opponents by 1-11 to 0-13.

Kilkenny forwards Adrian Mullen and Billy Sheehan were involved in the move which set up Fennelly's goal. With Carlow struggling to cope with the pace and quick-fire passing of Kilkenny, they conceded a second goal in the eighth minute when Ger Aylward was on the mark.

The troubles continued for Colm Bonnar's side as they slumped into arrears of 2-4 to 0-1 after 11 minutes, Marty Kavanagh opening Carlow's account with a point from play in the seventh minute.

TJ Reid was running the show up front for Kilkenny, the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman finishing the game with 1-12, a total of 1-9 coming from placed balls.

Kilkenny were tight in defence, where Pádraig Walshe and Paul Murphy were shining, and there was little in the way of worthwhile possession for the Carlow forwards throughout the half.

But while they were building up a commanding lead, Kilkenny were also guilty of some untypically sloppy finish. They hit 13 first-half wides and another worry for Cody's men was that Colin Fennelly went off with a hamstring injury on 27 minutes, to be replaced by Liam Blanchfield. Walter Walsh did not appear for the second half but that is understood to have been precautionary.

Kilkenny’s third goal came from an unstoppable penalty from Reid on 30 minutes after a foul on Billy Sheehan.

By half-time Carlow trailed 3-9 to 0-3 but in the second half they showed massive improvement. With Chris Nolan, Marty Kavanagh, James Doyle and Séamus Murphy prominent in attack they took the game to Kilkenny and points from Séamus Murphy, Chris Nolan, one from a free, another from play, Marty Kavanagh and a magnificent long-range point from a free well within his own half from goalie Brian Tracey, the home support in the attendance of 7,050 had something to shout about.

Then Marty Kavanagh found James Doyle for a cracking goal to leave the score 3-10 to 1-8 ahead on 47 minutes.

But Kilkenny raised their game and, picking off their points with substitutes John Donnelly and Billy Sheehan making the scoresheet, saw out the game with a degree of comfort. In all nine players shared in the big Kilkenny total as they recorded a 14-point victory.

CARLOW: B Tracey (0-1); K McDonald, P Doyle, M Doyle; E Nolan, D English (0-1), R Coady; J Kavanagh (0-1), S Whelan; J M Nolan, M Kavanagh (0-5, four frees), E Byrne; J Doyle (1-1), S Murphy (0-2), C Nolan (0-3, one free).

Subs: A Corcoran for P Doyle (half-time); T Joyce for Byrne (49 mins); J Murphy for Whelan (63); D Byrne for J Kavanagh (65); R Smithers for J Doyle (68).

KILKENNY: D Brennan; P Murphy, H Lawlor, T Walsh; C Fogarty, P Walsh, P Deegan; A Murphy (0-2), R Leahy (0-1); A Mullen (0-1), W Walsh (0-1), T J Reid (1-12, 1-0 pen, eight frees, one 65); B Sheehan, C Fennelly (1-1), G Alyward (1-1).

Subs: L Blanchfield for Fennelly (inj, 27 mins); J Donnelly (0-2) for W Walsh (half-time); J Cleere for Deegan (53); B Ryan (0-1) for Alyward (59); M Keoghan for Leahy (61).

Referee: A Kelly (Galway).

READ MORE