Dublin 0-17 Carlow 0-10
All Ireland champions Dublin had to fight harder than expected, before overcoming minnows Carlow, in the opening round of the 2012 O’Byrne Cup. The Dubs eventually ran out winners by seven points but were outbattled for periods and looked in trouble on a few occasions.
Pat Gilroy’s side opened the scoring through Brian Cullen and were well on top in the early stages. The Blues went further in front and Diarmuid Connolly added their third score to make it 0-3 to 0-1. Brendan Murphy chipped in with the score for Carlow. McCarthy and McAuley extended the Dublin lead, with St Ledger the sole Carlow scorer during that period. At 0-5 to 0-2 the All Ireland champions were cruising. Carlow then had a period of pressure where in truth, they really should have tested the Dub. Brendan Murphy hit his second point to make it 0-5 to 0-3 but the side missed a number of scorable chances. McCarthy made it 0-6 to 0-3 but again that man Murphy narrowed the gap. The halftime score was 0-6 to 0-4 and considering how dominant the Dubs had been, Carlow would have been very happy at that point.
Diarmuid Connolly opened the scoring after the restart but Brendan Murphy and substitute Derek Hayden replied for Carlow to leave just a single point in it. Daragh Foley then hit a fine point to tie the game at 0-8 apiece. Ross McConnell put the Dubs ahead but Con Murphy equalised. Mossy Quinn gave the favourites back the lead at 0-9 to 0-8. However, Daniel St Ledger pointed to draw the game once more at 0-9 each. Quinn with three and Connolly pointed to stretch Dublin into a four point lead and Carlow had no way back from there. The side added further points and led 0-17 to 0-9 with five minutes to play. Carlow hit the last score of the game and battled bravely but in the end the Dubs had too much class.
It was a reasonable first outing of the season for the champions, but they will need to step it up considerably as the year progresses. Mossy Quinn and Diarmuid Connolly impressed for the winners, while Brendan Murphy led the way for Carlow.