After a bright opening 20 minutes, Kildare’s performance tailed off badly and, in the end, Limerick were left feeling hard done not to have takenanything from the game.
Niall Kelly’s fifth-minute goal seemed to set Kildare up for a big display and by the 23rd minute they led 1-4 to 0-2. But a tactical switch by Limerick changed the course of the game. They dropped an additional man into their backline, where they were already fielding one sweeper, and Kildare suddenly found it very difficult to make the ball stick in their forward line.
A constant stream of turnovers allowed Limerick the chance to counter-attack and Ian Ryan converted four frees to leave just a point between the teams at the break
.Niall Kelly and Fionn Dowling kicked scores early in the second-half but even that failed to ignite the home team. They failed to score over the next 14 minutes and were only two points ahead in the 58th minute when Killian Ryan rattled their crossbar. Substitute Sean McSweeney pointed a free to leave a point between the teams in the 62nd minute,before O’Flaherty and Danny Neville traded frees.
Kildare finally found something close to their best form to pull four points clear going into injury-time thanks to two well-taken points by the experienced Eamonn Callaghan and another O’Flaherty free.
However, a late goalmouth scramble ended with Brian Fanning getting the final touch as the ball went into the net to leave just the minimum between the teams. Man of the match Kevin Feely won possession from the kick-out to ensure Limerick wouldn’t get a chance to push for an equaliser but although Kildare ended up the winning side, they will know a big improvement is needed from this display.
N Kelly (1-1, 0-1 free); E O’Flaherty (0-3, 2 frees); E Callaghan (frees), A Smith (0-2 each); K Feely, F Dowling (0-1 each),
I Ryan (0-6, 5 frees); B Fanning (1-0); S McSweeney (0-2f); D Neville (f), S Buckley (0-1 each)
T Corley; P Kelly, D Hyland, E Powderly; J Byrne 0-1, F Conway, C O’Donoghue; K Feely, D Flynn; C McNally, E O’Flaherty , M Byrne, N Kelly, F Dowling, A Smith.
O Lyons for Powderly, 16 BC; K Murnaghan for Conway, h/t; E Callaghan for Smith, 45; T Moolick for Flynn, 50; P O’Neill for Dowling, 54; E O’Connor for McNally, 65.
D O’Sullivan; J McCarthy, P Browne, S O’Dea, M Donovan, I Corbett, P White; T Lee, D Treacy; D Neville, P Ranahan, S Buckley, P Nash, I Ryan, C Sheehan.
S Cahill for Corbett, 17; S Flanagan for McCarthy, 25; K Ryan for Buckley, 44; S McSweeney for Ryan, 48; B Donovan for Nash, 56; B Fanning for Ranahan, 65.
N. Cullen (Fermanagh)