Kildare, Wicklow and Louth progress in O'Byrne Cup
There was mixed news for former Armagh team-mates Kieran McGeeney and Justin McNulty as the O'Byrne Cup got underway in Leinster today.
McGeeney's Kildare side proved too strong for Longford as they claimed a 0-16 to 0-8 first round win at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge.
Kildare led by 0-9 to 0-6 at half-time, with five of their six starting forwards on target.
Mark Scanlon, Tom Moolick, Mark O'Sullivan, Eamonn Callaghan, Fionn Dowling and Eoghan O'Flaherty got the Lilywhites off to a positive start, with Donal McElligott keeping Longford in touch.
Kildare continued to impress on the restart, but Longford also created plenty of scoring chances. Sean McCormack sent an opportunity wide after a bad pass out of defence by Kildare defender Ciaran Fitzpatrick, just after the restart.
However, Kildare closed out the game well to ensure a double scores win at the finish. They will face the winners of the Offaly v DCU tie in the quarter-finals.
In Portlaoise, Justin McNulty's debut as Laois manager got off to a disappointing start, as Tony Hannon's late brace of points gave Wicklow a 1-10 to 1-9 win.
Mick O'Dwyer's charges were 1-8 to 0-4 to the good, entering the final quarter, thanks to 48th minute penalty from Hannon.
However, the visitors came under an increasing amount of pressure in the closing stages, with Laois determined to impress their new boss.
The O'Moore men led by 0-4 to 0-3 in the 21st minute following excellent scores by the returning Colm Parkinson and Padraig Clancy. In his first game for Laois since the 2008 qualifier defeat to Down, Parkinson looked sharp and was hunger for work.
Wicklow responded with a trio of unanswered scores, both Dean Odlum and Dean Siney were on target to give their side a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead. The visitors kicked on in the third quarter, during which they held Laois scoreless.
Laois upped the tempo late on when scoring 1-5 without reply, including a 66th minute goal from Daithi Carroll. His strike put them one point ahead as time ticked on.
But Wicklow showed great composure as Hannon kicked them into the last-eight of the competition, where they will meet Louth next Sunday.
Louth started their 2011 campaign with a comfortable 2-15 to 0-4 victory over Athlone IT at Drogheda.
A second minute goal from Paraic Smith set Peter Fitzpatrick's side up for a 1-5 to 0-2 half-time lead. Louth dominated the second half and added a second goal from substitute Adrian Reid.O'BYRNE CUP FIRST ROUND RESULTS:
Wexford 0-4 DIT 2-18
Kildare 0-16 Longford 0-8
Carlow 5-13 Kilkenny 0-8
Louth 2-15 Athlone IT 0-4
Laois 1-9 Wicklow 1-10
Westmeath v Dublin (postponed due to an unplayable pitch)
Offaly v DCU (postponed due to an unplayable pitch)
Meath v UCD (postponed due to an unplayable pitch)