Kerry 2-21 Wicklow 2-08
Kerry earned promotion to the top tier of hurling with an emphatic 2-21 to 2-08 win over Wicklow in a one-sided Christy Ring Cup final.
Kerry were not long in proving they had put the disappointment of losing last year’s final by a single point behind them.
Gary O’Brien drove at the centre of the Wicklow defence and played a perfect hand-pass to John Egan who scored the Kingdom’s first goal after ten minutes.
With Kerry rampant for much of the half, Darragh O’Connell produced a man of the match performance for the Kingdom scoring five points in the first half as the Kingdom stamped their authority on the final, allowing Wicklow few chances.
Andy O’Brien who was slowly coming into the game for Wicklow was fouled for a penalty after 23 minutes but midfielder John Griffin saved O’Neill’s effort and though he scored the resulting 65 it did little to slow Kerry down as they added another six points before the break.
John Meyler’s side went in 1-10 to 0-06 up at half-time and did not let up in the second half on their way to securing a place in next year’s Liam McCarthy cup.
O’Connell added a goal quickly after the restart and though Wicklow responded with a goal of their own through James Quirke, the Garden county never really got to grips with Kerry’s attack.
Casey O’Brien’s men could do little to intervene as Kerry drove at them, Shane Nolan racked up six points and O’Connell brought his personal tally to 1-10 as the Kingdom opened a big lead going into the closing stages.
Jonathon O’Neill added a late consolation goal for Wicklow but it made little difference as Kerry were by far the strongest team and deserved winners.