SOME weeks ago the Kildare minor footballers handed out a mother and father of a hiding to their Kilkenny counterparts, but on Saturday at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, it was the turn of the Cats hurlers to put the home side firmly in their box as they strolled to a comprehensive victory in the Leinster championship.
In the end their was all of 26 points separating the sides, and in all fairness no one could complain.
Locals were told before the start that Kilkenny, who lost to Wexford in their last game, were not at full strength and that Kildare might have a squeak of a chance to cause an upset. That dream ended after some 12 seconds when right from the throw-in the visitors attacked down the middle with James Maher setting up Alan Murphy for the opening goal.
Second green flag
And while Brian Byrne replied with a fine point after five minutes, Kilkenny raised their second green flag two minutes later when Michael Kenny got the first of his four goals quickly followed by a Liam Blanchfield point to make it 2-1 to 0-1 after a mere eight minutes.
Kenny showed his skill once again after ten when leaving a couple of Kildare defenders in his wake as he strolled in for goal No. 3.
Kildare, in fairness replied and a long ball in from Eoghan Doddy was picked up by full forward Niall Kenny who after two attempts found the net to leave it Kilkenny 3-1 Kildare 101 after 11 minutes.
The visitors superior skill work was there for all to see; they had the capacity to make room, get that extra yard moving smoothly away from a marker and despite hitting nine first half wides went on to find the Kildare net twice more before the break and hitting some eight points to leave Kilkenny leading at the break 5-9 to 1-3; five goals despite keeper Shane Nolan making one brilliant save from a penalty and a few other fine clearances but when you are playing a side such as Kilkenny every mistake is punished over and over again.
Kildare made a few changes at the break and it certainly tightened things up somewhat while corner forward Brian Byrne hit three fine points on the trot but another goal from Michael Kenny and substitute Niall Mullins ensured the visitors booked their place in the Leinster minor semi-final.
Kildare will now move into the All Ireland ‘B’ series and despite this heavy defeat are more than capable of making an impression at that level.
Scorers: Kilkenny - Michael Kenny (4-1); Alan Murphy (2-5, two points frees, one 65); Niall Mullins (1-0); Liam Blanchfield (0-3); Luke Scanlon (0-2); Eoin Kenny (0-2); Vinny Teehan, James Maher, Ciarán Ryan, Liam Hennessy (0-1 each). Kildare - Brian Byrne (0-6, four frees); Niall Kenny (1-0); Eoghan Doddy (0-2); Cathal Egan (0-1).
Kilkenny - Darren Brennan (St Lachtain’s); James Tyrrell, capt (James Stephens), Evan Cody (Dicksboro), Philly Cass (Conahy Shamrocks); Ciarán Wallace (Erin’s Own), Jason Stanley (Galmoy), Darragh Joyce (Rower-Inistioge); James Maher (St Lachtain’s), Ciarán Ryan (Rower-Inistioge); Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge), Vinny Teehan (Graigue Ballycallan), Eoin Kenny (Slieverue); Liam Hennessy (Glenmore), Michael Kenny (Lisdowney), Alan Murphy (Glenmore). Subs - Luke Scanlon (James Stephens) for L. Hennessy (27 minute); Niall Mullins (James Stephens) for E. Kenny (38 minute); Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own) for C. Wallace (41 minute); Eoin Brennan (Erin’s Own) for J. Maher (42 minute); Ciarán Breen (Barrow Rangers) for E. Cody (48 minute).
Kildare - Shane Nolan (Maynooth): Niall Connolly (Éire Óg CC); Kieran Maher (Naas), Conor Grogan (Naas); John Hill (Naas), Daire Casey (Confey) Declan Keane (Kilcock); Eoghan Doddy (Celbridge), Jonathan Reeves (Ardclough); Evan Dempsey (Éire Óg CC), Peter Moran (Naas), Tadhg Forde (Maynooth); Eoin O’Hehir (Naas), Niall Kenny (Celbridge), Brian Byrne (Naas). Subs: Stephen Ryan (Leixlip) for John Hill (27 minute); Conor Gordon (Coill Dubh) for Jonathan Reeves (half time); Brandon Kilkenny (Kilcock) for Kieran Maher (Naas) half time; Liam O’Brien (Clane) for Conor Grogan (55 minute); Seamus O’Shea (Maynooth) for Niall Kenny (55 minute); Darragh Walsh (Ardclough) for Niall Connolly (59 minute); Conor Graham (Clane) for Tadhg Forde (59 minute).
Referee - Kevin Brady.