Ryan Byrne/INPHO Dublin’s Brian Fenton and Mick O’Grady of Kildare contesting the ball.
# On The Road
Dublin narrowly hold off Kildare to open Division 2 campaign with a victory
The sides clashed in the league opener at Croke Park.

Dublin 1-11
Kildare 0-13

Paul Keane reports from Croke Park

A FAMILIAR ENOUGH result if hardly a vintage performance from Dublin who began their bid for promotion back to Division 1 of the Allianz Football League with a battling Round 1 win.

Man of the Match Brian Fenton’s early goal ultimately separated the sides as Dublin led virtually throughout though they were mightily relieved to hear the full-time whistle after a strong Kildare finish.

Leading by five points with 20 minutes to go, Dublin might have expected a bigger win but were outscored by 0-6 to 0-2 in the closing stages by a resilient Kildare.

It will ultimately go down as an important win for Dublin who, along with Kildare, were relegated from the top flight last season. Dessie Farrell’s side also gained a modicum of revenge for last year’s costly Division 1 defeat to the Lilywhites in Newbridge.

Cormac Costello top scored for Dublin with four points while Con O’Callaghan, playing his first game for them since last year’s Leinster final defeat of Kildare, scored two points.

There was no sign of the returning Jack McCaffrey while Paul Mannion and the Kilmacud Crokes contingent were notable absentees along with established stars James McCarthy, Brian Howard and Evan Comerford.

Despite the defeat, Kildare were boosted by the earlier than anticipated return from an Achilles injury of Kevin Feely who came on as a substitute.

Clogherinkoe’s Jack Robinson impressed for Ryan’s side, particularly in the first-half, while Neil Flynn led the scoring for the visitors with 0-4.

Dublin will return to action next Sunday against Limerick while Kildare will take on Cork on the same day.

The Dubs handed full league debuts to goalkeeper David O’Hanlon and Skerries man Greg McEneaney and hit the interval with a 1-5 to 0-6 advantage.

Fenton’s goal, when he was fed by Sean MacMahon, was the difference in the opening half with Robinson, locked in a thrilling head to head duel with defender MacMahon, playing a role in four of Kildare’s side points.

Back to back O’Callaghan points after the restart stretched Dublin’s lead and they had the margin out to five following scores from Ross McGarry and Ciaran Kilkenny but couldn’t kick on.

Kildare needed a goal but their best opportunity was a snap shot from sub Tony Archbold which drew a fine save from O’Hanlon.

They picked off a series of points in the closing 20 minutes or so from Jimmy Hyland, Robinson, Darragh Kirwan and free-taker Neil Flynn but couldn’t get it back to parity to rescue a draw.

Dublin scorers: Cormac Costello 0-4 (0-3f), Brian Fenton 1-0, Con O’Callaghan 0-2, Dean Rock 0-1 (0-1f), John Small 0-1, Niall Scully 0-1, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1, Ross McGarry 0-1.

Kildare scorers: Neil Flynn 0-4 (0-1f, 0-2 45), Jack Robinson 0-3, Jimmy Hyland 0-3 (0-1f), Darragh Kirwan 0-3 (0-1f).


1. David O’Hanlon

4. Michael Fitzsimons
26. Sean MacMahon
7. Cian Murphy

19. Greg McEneaney
2. Eoin Murchan
5. Lee Gannon

8. Brian Fenton
9. Tom Lahiff

6. John Small
14. Ciaran Kilkenny
10. Niall Scully

13. Cormac Costello
20. Ross McGarry
15. Con O’Callaghan

3. David Byrne for Murchan h/t
17. Colm Basquel for McGarry 47
12. Dean Rock for McEneaney 55
25. Killian O’Gara for Costello 68
24. Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne for Lahiff 72.


1. Mark Donnellan

2. Mick O’Grady
3. Shea Ryan
4. Ryan Houlihan

5. Darragh Malone
6. David Hyland
17. Paddy McDermott

8. Aaron Masterson
9. Kevin O’Callaghan

10. Neil Flynn
11. Kevin Flynn
12. Paul Cribbin

26. Jack Robinson
14. Darragh Kirwan
13. Jimmy Hyland

15. Paddy Woodgate for Jimmy Hyland 31-h/t blood
21. Alex Beirne for Cribbin 47
7. Tony Archbold for Malone 47
24. Ben McCormack for Jimmy Hyland 59
18. Kevin Feely for Masterson 60
20. Jack Sargent for Houlihan 72

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry).

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