Lilies hit back for first win under Jack
Wicklow 2-7 Kildare 2-14
A transformed Kildare, who trailed by nine points late in the first half, took complete control after the interval to register a first win under new manager Jack O'Connor in the O'Byrne Cup at Aughrim.
Five points from the nimble Jack Robinson in the second half, before he was taken off with nine minutes left, helped turn the match persuasively in their favour. One of those was an outrageous score from an acute angle on the left off his right foot.
Daniel Flynn also made an impact on his comeback, having missed all of last season, and finished with 1-2, his early second-half goal a thunderous finish after a loose ball by deputy Wicklow keeper Robert Lambert.
Lambert replaced Wicklow's first-choice 'keeper Mark Jackson in the opening half who suffered an injury during the lead-up to Kildare's first score, a goal against the run of play in the 23rd minute from Chris Byrne.
Backed by the strong wind Wicklow raced into a 0-6 to 0-0 lead after 15 minutes, with three of their points from the impressive Chris O'Brien. Wicklow Player of the Year Mark Kenny scored a beauty on the spin off his right foot during that bright spell.
Two goals in two minutes, just before the half-hour mark, had them leading 2-6 to 1-0 - Darren Hayden claiming both after sloppy Kildare defending. But after the second goal, in the 29th minute, Wicklow scored just once more, a late second-half free from O'Brien. Kildare reeled off three late first-half points to leave themselves 1-3 to 2-6 adrift at the interval, then re-emerged a different side.
David Hyland moved to midfield and played a captain's part in their revival, with Flynn's early goal leading to a riot of scores. They upped their work-rate noticeably and pinned Wicklow back in their own half.
The win offered compensation for their opening round loss to Longford. Wicklow's loss was their second in the competition, after they went down to Carlow last weekend.
Scorers: Kildare: J Robinson 0-6 (0-3 fs, 0-1 mark), D Flynn 1-2, C Byrne 1-0; K Flynn, J Byrne, D Hyland, N Kelly, D O'Neill, S Doran 0-1. Wicklow: D Hayden 2-0; C O'Brien 0-4 (0-1 f, 0-1 mark); M Kenny, Z Cullen, M Jackson (f) 0-1.