Kildare kick started their Leinster GAA Championship campaign with a win over Wicklow at Netwatch Cullen Park tonight. However it was not plain sailing for the Lily Whites as they had to survive a second half rally from the Garden County.
Kildare dominated the first half and scored some fine points to lead 0-09 to 0-04 at half time. Cian O’Neill’s men were then leading by 7 points and looked to be well on the way to victory when Darren Hayden got onto the end of a fine run from Captain Dean Healy to finish to the net, giving John Evans men a much needed lifeline.
Patrick O’Connor then pounced on a poor David Hyland handpass to point two mintues later. But for a few poor wides late on the Wicklow side could have drawn level and really tested Kildare.
Neil Flynn’s 69th minute point was an important score for Kildare but the gap was cut again by Daniel Keane in injury time. Two points down, Wicklow had one chance in the last attack to drop a goal into the Kildare goalmouth but the Lilywhites held on to win.
Scorers for Kildare: A Tyrrell 0-5 (4fs), E O’Flaherty 0-4 (2fs, 1’45), B McCormack 0-2, P Brophy 0-1, D Hyland 0-1, F Conway 0-1, N Flynn 0-1f
Scorers for Wicklow: D Hayden 1-0, M Kenny 0-2, P O’Connor 0-2, C McGraynor 0-1f, T Smith 0-1, P O’Toole 0-1, D Healy 0-1, M Jackson 0-1f, D Keane 0-1.
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, David Hyland, Mark Hyland; Peter Kelly, Eoin Doyle, Keith Cribbin; Kevin Feely, Fergal Conway; David Slattery, Ben McCormack, Eoghan O’Flaherty; Adam Tyrrell, Paddy Brophy, Jimmy Hyland. Subs: Cian O’Donoghue for Cribbin, 48; Neil FlynN for O’Flaherty, 48; Conor Hartley for McCormack, 56; Tommy Moolick for Slattery, 60; Jason Gibbons for Tyrrell, 68.
WICKLOW: Mark Jackson; Eoin Murtagh, Ross O’Brien, Jamie Snell, David Devereux, Shane Mooney, Daragh Fitzgerald; Dean Healy, Padraig O’Toole; Darren Hayden, Anthony McLoughlin, Theo Smith, Mark Kenny, Conor McGraynor, Patrick O’Connor Subs: Cathal McGee for McLoughlin, h/t; Chris O’Brien for McGraynor, 44; Oisin Manning for Mooney, 47; Daniel Keane for Hayden, 68; Saoirse Kieron for O’Toole, 70+1.