Carlow faced a big trip down to Austin Stack Park to face Kerry in the second round of the Joe McDonagh Cup after both teams got off to a perfect start in the opening encounters.
Carlow started with the same intensity they showed against Kildare, with points coming from Marty Kavanagh and Chris Nolan. Kerry got off the mark after four minutes with a point from a free at the hands of Shane Conway, before Paddy Boland registered Carlow’s second wide of the game. Kerry then evened it up on wides, before Shane Conway evened it up on the scoreboard with a point from a free.
James Doyle knew where the posts were to put Carlow back into the advantage, with the opening five minutes proving to be very lively. Chris Nolan marched through to get a pop at goal in a 2 v 1 situation, however, Nolan decided to go it on his own before being blocked with the attack petering out. It would be nearly five minutes before another score, this time it went in Kerry’s favor and it was a Conway again, but Jordon Conway got his first to draw the game. Marty Kavanagh once again showed why he is on all dead balls, getting 11 of his 12 points last week against Kildare, and again forcing the white flag to be raised from a free. It was tit for tat with Stephen Molumphy’s men drawing the game after Brandon Barrett registered a super score. After 16 minutes the sides were even on 4 points apiece, with both sides hitting 4 wides also.
Kerry got in front for the first time in the game with Shane Conway grabbing his second free of the game. In a blink of an eye though the Barrowsiders were back in front with Marty Kavanagh bursting over three quickfire frees. Michael Leane made it a one-score game though, stopping Carlow from marching ahead. Madness ensued when Carlow nearly had the ball over the goalmouth twice, Paddy Boland tried valiantly to get it over the line, but to no avail. Marty Kavanagh though hit another hattrick off frees before each team traded scores to send Tom Mullally’s men with a four-point lead at halftime.
Half time: Kerry 0-07 Carlow 0-11
The second half started much like the first with both teams going at each other trading scores with three apiece. Started with James Doyle, then Paddy Boyle, a point from play Brandon Barrett then Jon Nolan for Carlow, James Doyle again before Daniel Collins put over the last point for a frantic opening ten minutes.
Kerry certainly grew into the game though after a few changes. They went from five points down to bring it back level. Shane Conway started off the comeback with a beautiful score before Podge Boyle stepped up, and each of them traded scores. Marty Kavanagh then got a much-needed score for Carlow to help establish the lead once again. The visitors to Austin Stack Park nearly had the ball in the back of the onion net, only to hit the side netting, before Marty and Jon Nolan put Carlow back in front by three.
Kerry had it all to do again, but Shane Conway grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and got himself another three points, two from frees and one from play. Both sides were desperate for the two points, neither settling to share the spoils. As he has done numerous times, Marty Kavanagh put the Barrowsiders back in front, with Jon Nolan doubling the lead. It was advantage Carlow, with three minutes of normal time remaining but not for long, Shane Conway once again brought it to one point with Paudie O’Connor making 20 minutes apiece. Immediately though Fiachra Fitzpatrick went down the other end, with the whole fanbase biting their nails as the referee Kevin Jordon. whistle encroached ever closer to his mouth.
There were three minutes of added time, but all was not said and done Micheal Lehane got the crucial point from play to draw the game level. It was an absolutely cracking game of hurling with each side deserving something from the game. Up next for Carlow is a a home fixture against Laois next Saturday from 3pm.