1999 All-Ireland winning captain Graham Geraghty made his first start for 18 months, but ended up on the losing side in today’s O’Byrne Cup quarter final as Kildare saw off Meath 2-11 to 1-11 in Newbridge.
Both Geraghty and Ollie Murphy – stalwarts of the Royals attack – returned to action but could do little, as goals from under-21 Ross Galvin and Ronan Sweeney – who missed last year’s Championship defeats to Wexford and Offaly due to an ankle injury – handed the Lilywhites victory.
Kildare meet Laois in the last four after Mick O’Dwyer’s outfit thumped Kilkenny 5-22 to 0-01 in Freshford.
Michael Duggan scored the only point for the Cats from a 56th-minute free, as Laois reigned supreme. Donal Brennan – who hit 2-08 in total – inspired them to a 1-10 to no score half time lead, as he bagged 1-03 before being sin-binned late on.
In Longford, Paidi O Se’s Westmeath cruised through to a semi-final meeting with Louth next weekend. Denis Glennon and Alan Lambden netted in a 2-19 to 0-10 triumph over Luke Dempsey’s hosts.
The Leinster champions moved clear in the second half, after Mark Connor (0-05) and Paul O’Hara – with a neat brace – had given Longford, who had centre half back Tomas O’Rourke stretchered off, every chance at just 0-07 to 1-05 down at the break.
The Lake county – whom Dempsey managed for eight years – hit the front through two Joe Fallon points (1f) before Paddy Mulvihill’s penalty was tipped over by Longford goalkeeper Gavin Tonra.
Glennon, set up by John Brennan, goaled in the 15th minute to set Westmeath on their way, with both Conor Galligan and Dermot Brady sin-binned from either side.
Lambden’s goal and long-range points from Dessie Dolan, Alan Mangan and Glennon ended the contest late in the second period.
O’BYRNE SF CUP QUARTER FINALS:
Longford 0-10 Westmeath 2-19, Longford
Kilkenny 0-01 Laois 5-22, Freshford
Kildare 2-11 Meath 1-11, Newbridge