The yawning chasm in class between these neighbours was fully in evidence as Kilkenny thrashed Colm Bonnar’s by 21 points in a NHL Division 1B mismatch before an attendance of 3,000.
Richie Hogan announced his Kilkenny return with a tally of 1-3 from open play in an influential performance which earned him man of the match status.
This was no test for the Cats who had already registered five unanswered points before Carlow right half back Michael Malone received a straight red card for a rash tackle on Kilkenny’s Hugh Lawlor. The sending off appeared harsh.
Fielding without the Ballyhale Shamrocks contingent and a number of other established players, Kilkenny were never tested by Colm Bonnar’s men.
Alan Murphy (free), Ger Aylward, Billy Sheehan, Murphy again from a free, and his brother, goalkeeper Eoin, hit that early necklace of Kilkenny points before Carlow opened their account with a Marty Kavanagh pointed free on 11 minutes.
Kilkenny’s reply was emphatic as the impressive James Maher found the Carlow net.
Cody’s charges continued to pick off their scores with ease and by half-time the game was well decided when they led 1-12 to 0-5, all Carlow’s scores coming from Marty Kavanagh, four from frees.
There was no let-up in the Kilkenny domination in the second half. In the 43rd minute Ger Aylward scooped the ball to the Carlow net, and on 54 minutes, half-time substitute Niall Brassil set up Richie Hogan for a cracking goal. Kilkenny now led 3-15 to 0-7.
Carlow tried their best but were totally outclassed and could only muster four points from play while the Cats notched 3-12 out of open play.
Walter Walsh was denied a goal by a brilliant save from Carlow goalie Damien Jordan but it was one of the few bright spots in a game where Bonnar’s side showed how difficult life can be when taking on the big fish of the game.
Nine Kilkenny players shared in their huge total — the only downside for the winners being an injury to Niall Brasill late on.
Ciarán Wallace, Kilkenny’s right full-back, played the extra man to perfection and cleared a lot of ball while Paddy Deegan, James Maher, Bill Sheehan, Ger Alyward, and Richie Hogan had impressive outings.
Marty Kavanagh led the way for Carlow while Alan Corcoran and Chris Nolan were others to make an impact.
Brian Cody felt the early sending off was harsh and put the home team under pressure. Asked about a possible date for the return of the Ballyhale Shamrocks brigade, he commented: “We won’t be rushing them back.”
Colm Bonnar called into question the sending off of Malone, feeling a yellow card would have sufficed.
The Tipperary man added: “We have a very small group of players and have four of five injured.”
Kilkenny, he said, can afford the luxury of losing that number of players because of the depth of their panel. But he acknowledged the major gulf in class, commenting: “We have to take our beating.”
Scorers for Kilkenny: A Murphy (0-8 frees); R Hogan (1-3); J Maher (1-2); G Alyward (1-1); W Walsh, N Brassil (0-2 each), E Murphy (free), B Sheehan, A Nolan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Carlow: M Kavanagh (0-6, 0-5 frees); C Nolan, T Joyce, E Byrne (0-1 each).
KILKENNY: E Murphy; C Wallace, H Lawlor, C Delaney; M Cody, P Deegan, M Carey; M Keoghan, A Murphy; B Ryan, W Walsh, J Maher; B Sheehan, R Hogan, G Aylward.
Subs: N Brasill for Keoghan (h/t); C Fogarty for Carey (h/t); A Nolan for Aylward (injured) (46); T Kenny for Cody (51); T O’Dwyer for Ryan (61).
CARLOW: D Jordan; R Smithers, P Doyle, M Doyle, M Malone, D English, A Corcoran; S Whelan , R Coady; J M Nolan, M Kavanagh, J Nolan, J Doyle, C Nolan.
Subs: D Byrne 6 for Corcoran (40); A Amond for Whelan (49); T Joyce for P Coady (52); E Byrne for J Nolan (56); C Treacy for C Nolan (65).
Referee: C McAllister (Cork).