Kildare hold off late Louth rally

Louth 0-17 Kildare 2-15

Louth 0-17 Kildare 2-15

Kildare added further momentum to their promotion push with a well-merited win over Louth in Drogheda.

Second half goals from James Kavanagh and Morgan O’Flaherty (1-1 each) gave them a 2-15 to 0-11 buffer, before Louth rallied late on.

The hosts were heavily reliant on free-taker Darren Clarke who finished with a personal tally of 0-11.

The Lilywhites had stormed into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes, and the second period was one-sided as Johnny Doyle drove the visitors on.

Kieran McGeeney's men continued where they left off against Derry last time out, with Mikey Conway (0-2), Tomas O'Connor, Doyle (0-2) and Eoghan O'Flaherty responsible for their early scoring blitz.

The visitors were unchanged from that win over Derry, while Louth welcomed back Paddy Keenan from a hamstring injury and also added Ray Finnegan and Jim McEneaney to their starting line-up.

McEneaney was unfortunate to be denied by the crossbar as he went for goal in an attempt to reel in Kildare, who had quickly set about their task with great movement up front from the forwards.

Mark Brennan opened Louth's account with a point in the eighth minute and Ger Hoey and McEneaney reduced the arrears to 0-6 to 0-3 by the quarter hour mark.

Morgan O'Flaherty replied in the 18th minute but Louth outscored Kildare by 0-5 to 0-2 over the remainder of the first half, with Clarke (0-4, 0-3f) in dead-eye form and McEneaney adding his second from play.

Clarke had the Wee County side back on level terms briefly at 0-9 apiece, in the opening minutes of the second period. But Kildare, who had kept Louth waiting following a longer than usual half-time team talk from McGeeney, kicked on with another purple patch of scoring.

Conway, Eoghan O'Flathery and Kavanagh added a point apiece before the latter sent a smart 44th minute finish to the Louth net after being picked out by Doyle.

There were further points from Conway (0-4) and Eamon Callaghan as Kildare tightened their grip on proceedings, and when O'Flaherty finished off his goal in the 56th minute there was no way back for Louth.

The hosts did put together some decent phases in the final quarter with Keenan (0-1) and Clarke, with five more scores from placed balls, converting a succession of points.

But the damage had been done and Louth now find themselves bottom of the Division 2 table for the first time in 2012, following their fourth defeat in five games.

Next weekend's trip to sixth-placed Derry is a huge fixture for Peter Fitzpatrick's relegation-threatened charges, while Kildare, who now lie second, are back in Newbridge in the next round to entertain Leinster rivals Westmeath.

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