Kilkenny’s much maligned footballers put in an improved performance in this fifth round Allianz National Football League game played in ideal weather conditions at Freshford on Sunday, but they still ended up suffering an 11 points defeat.
In a match in which Kilkenny conceded two easy goals this was probably their best performance to date.
The losers were first off the mark when Graham Lawlor pointed after 30 seconds. This set the tone for the early stages as Kilkenny held their own for the next 10 minutes before J.J. Smith equalised for Carlow.
By the end of the quarter Carlow had established a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, but they were finding it hard to shake off a determined Kilkenny side that lined out without four of their selected side. Carlow continued to set the pace and ran up a 0-7 to 0-1 lead after 25 minutes.
The Noresiders hung in and by the break they had reduced the deficit to five points, 0-8 to 0-3, thanks to points from Michael Malone and Graham Lawlor. Eoin Ruth had Carlow’s final point of the half to leave the score at the break, 0-8 to 0-3.
Points from Darragh Foley and Eoin Ruth increased Carlow’s lead to seven points (0-10 to 0-3) before Joe Fennelly got one back for Kilkenny. Then in the 45th minute disaster struck for the home side. Kilkenny conceded a totally unnecessary penalty which J.J. Smith dispatched to the net to put his side 10 points clear and on their way.
A second Carlow goal after a mix up in the Kilkenny defence put the issue beyond doubt. However, Kilkenny didn’t capitulate and when Graham Lawler found the net the deficit was reduced to seven points, 2-10 to 1-6.
However, Kilkenny were running out of steam at this stage and another error at the back led to a third Carlow goal from the alert Sean Gannon, who capitalised on the mistake to leave Carlow, who had a player sent off midway through the second half, victorious on a 3-11 to 1-6 score line.
Scorers: Carlow - J.J. Smith (1-3, goal penalty, two points frees); Cormac Mullins (1-3); Sean Gannon (1-1); Eoin Ruth (0-2); Derek Hayden, Daragh Foley (0-1 each). Kilkenny - Graham Lawlor (1-3, two points frees); Joe Fenelly, Michael Malone, Stephen Duggan (0-1 each).
Carlow - Andy O’Brien, Barry John Molloy, Paul McElligot, Gary Nolan, Brendan Kavanagh, David Mulvaney, Barry Lambe, Paul Reid, Daragh Foley, Cormac Walshe, Con Murphy, Eoghan Ruth, Daniel St Ledger, Cormac Mullins, J.J. Smith. Subs - Derek Hayden, Brendan Murphy, Padraig Murphy, Ed Finnegan.
Kilkenny - David Garvey, Declan Grennan, Ollie Walsh, Kevin O’Brien, Joe Dollard, Michael Malone J.J. Grace, Richard O’Hara, Peter McBride, Stephen Duggan, Ray O’Keeffe, Stephen Duggan, Robert Shore, Joe Fennelly, James Culleton, Graham Lawlor. Subs - George Smith, Cian Tyler.
Referee - Noel Mooney (Cavan).