O'Byrne Cup Round 1 round-up
By Paul Keane
O'Byrne Cup Round 1
Longford 2-14 Kildare 0-14
Westmeath 1-11 Wexford 0-11
Offaly 1-17 Laois 2-12
Carlow 2-5 Wicklow 0-8
A commanding Longford performance that yielded goals from Joseph Hagan and Daniel Mimnagh ensured there'd be no opening day O'Byrne Cup win for new Kildare manager Jack O'Connor.
Hagan's 22nd minute goal put Longford into a lead they wouldn't relinquish in Newbridge and Mimnagh added their second goal in the 70th minute to wrap up a 2-14 to 0-14 win.
Longford were full value for it though O'Connor, who guided Kerry to three All-Ireland titles in the 2000s, looked to the positives afterwards having run in his entire bench.
Kildare retained just two players in the lineup from the team that beat Longford in the Championship last June as O'Connor took the chance to assess all his options.
He had hoped to start Daniel Flynn in attack but the former All-Star nominee, who was absent for the 2019 season, couldn't play because of a hamstring twinge.
Jack Robinson did make his senior debut and scored two points having put his hand up as one to watch in the Leinster junior final with seven points from play that day.
Longford were the better team though and took a 1-8 to 0-8 lead into the interval with Darren Gallagher curling over three first-half points and adding two more.
Kildare briefly reduced their arrears to a point approaching the hour mark but Longford finished strong, reeling off 1-3 in the closing period including a cracking Mimnagh goal to settle it.
The new playing rules voted in at October's Special Congress - the sin-bin, advanced mark and decree that all kick-outs are taken from the 20-metre line - were in operation.
There were only two advanced marks recorded in the game though Longford took advantage of both, registering points from Rian Brady and Peter Lynn.
Meanwhile, O'Byrne Cup holders Westmeath were grateful to Joe Halligan for the first-half goal that secured them a 1-11 to 0-11 win over Wexford.
It was Kerry man Paul Galvin's first competitive game as Wexford manager and they led 0-9 to 1-4 at half-time but second-half Westmeath scores from the likes of Callum McCormack and Kieran Martin proved decisive.
Mike Quirke, a third Kerry man taking charge of a Leinster county for the first time, presided over Laois who lost narrowly to Offaly, 1-17 to 2-12.
Cian Farrell's first goal was a crucial strike for Offaly who were tied at half-time, 1-8 to 2-5, and pushed on for a win that leaves them sitting pretty.
Meanwhile, a fortuitous Daniel St Ledger goal and another from Robbie Kane earned Carlow a 2-5 to 0-8 win over Wicklow, the Barrowsiders building on a four-point half-time lead.