Kerry make history by winning first ever Leinster SHC match
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Round Robin Series Round 1
Kerry 2-19 Carlow 0-17
By Paul Brennan at Austin Stack Park
Another GAA first today when the Kerry hurlers became the first Munster county to play in the Leinster SHC, and the occasion was enhanced by a comfortable win by the Kingdom over Carlow at Austin Stack Park.
Kerry came into this historic match as favourites, and the Division 1B team justified that with a workmanlike, if not brilliant, performance against a Carlow side that hit far too many wides and never threatened the Kerry goals.
A goal in either half from John Egan and Shane Nolan set the platform for Kerry’s win, but it took Nolan’s kicked 42nd minute goal for Kerry to put daylight between themselves and Carlow.
Egan’s goal came in the 13th minute when the sides were tied at 0-4 apiece, but it was the dozen wides Carlow registered while playing with a stiff breeze that did more damage to the Leinster men.
Jack Kavanagh pointed the visitors first point from 70 metres after 25 seconds, an indication of the strength of the breeze, but scores from Egan, Nolan, Daniel Collins and Mikey Boyle had Kerry 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the eighth minute.
Carlow had it back to 0-4 apiece before Colum Harty played in Egan and the St Brendan’s man hit low to the Carlow net. The next twenty minutes produced a small handful of points from either side as Kerry took a 1-6 to 0-7 lead to the break, but it was Carlow’s wastefulness, from play and long range frees, which proved most costly.
Shane Nolan and Richard Kelly exchanged points early after the restart, but when the former kicked the sliotar, at the second attempt, underneath goalkeeper Brian Treacy it opened up a 2-7 to 0-8 Kerry lead and even with 30 minutes to play the result looked inevitable.
Carlow centre-forward Michael Kavanagh kept the visitors in touch as he found his range from play and frees, but the goal Carlow needed to get back in to the contest never looked like coming. John Griffin converted three fine scores from the Kerry midfield, with substitute Jordan Conway scoring two, as Kerry eased out to a 10-point lead, before Carlow brought it back to eight at the end.
Westmeath are next weekend’s visitors to Tralee for Round 2, and while manager Ciaran Carey will demand a serious improvement on performance for that one, Kerry’s historic foray into Leinster hurling is off to a winning start.
*Scorers for Kerry: *Shane Nolan (1-4, 0-3f), John Egan (1-3), John Griffin (0-3), Mikey Boyle (0-2), Jack Goulding (0-2), Jordan Conway (0-2), Daniel Collins (0-1), Michael O’Leary (0-1), Darren Dineen (0-1f)
*Scorers for Carlow: *Martin Kavanagh (0-8, 6f), John Michael Nolan (0-2), Jack Kavanagh (0-1), Richard Kelly (0-1), Seamus Murphy (0-1), Sean Murphy (0-1), James Doyle (0-1f), Conor Lawlor (0-1), Hugh Paddy O’Byrne (0-1)
*Kerry: *Aidan McCabe, Bryan Murphy, Patrick Kelly, Keith Carmody, Jason Diggins, Darren Dineen, Tom Murnane, John Griffin, Daniel Collins, Colum Harty, Michael O’Leary, Shane Nolan, Jack Goulding, Mikey Boyle, John Egan. Subs: Brendan O’Leary for C Harty (inj, 18 min), Jordan Conway for S Nolan (46 min), James O’Connor for B O’Leary (67 min), Brandon Barrett for J Goulding (67 mins), Dougie Fitzelle for B Murphy (69 mins)
*Carlow: *Brian Treacy, Ger Coady, Michael Ryan, Alan Corcoran, Diarmuid Byrne, Richard Coady, James O’Hara, Jack Kavanagh, Richard Kelly, Sean Murphy, Martin Kavanagh, Kevin McDonald, Seamus Murphy, James Doyle, John Michael Nolan. Subs: Ross Smithers for J Kavanagh (inj, 23 mins), Hugh Paddy O’Byrne for S Murphy (50 min), 18. Conor Lawlor for K McDonald (69 min)
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)