KILDARE began their 2013 with an easy 1-13 to 0-7 victory over Carlow IT in Group D of the O'Byrne Cup in Newbridge.
Kieran McGeeney fielded a host of championship regulars for their first competitive outing of the season with veterans Mickey Conway, Brian Flanagan and Morgan O'Flaherty making big impressions and Gary White producing a storming display in midfield.
Nine different Kildare players scored and they led 0-7 to 0-2 at half-time, with Conway helping himself to three points from play from centre-back. By comparison, just four Carlow IT players registered scores with Wexford's Ben Brosnan kept to just three points from frees and when Rob Kelly hit the net in the 52nd minute, the home side were in total control.
In the other match in the group, DIT helped themselves to a 1-15 to 1-11 win over Wexford in Kilanerin. The Dublin college trailed by 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval with Stephen Banville claiming the Wexford goal but they managed just four points thereafter and with Aidan O'Shea and St Sylvester's Ross Hazley asserting DIT a dominance in midfield, their comeback was swift and decisive.
DIT scored seven consecutive points to nose in front by the 50th minute with O'Shea's Mayo colleague Jason Doherty hitting seven points in total (four frees). Cork's Mark Collins then converted a penalty after Colin Walsh was sent off to seal the victory.
In Group A, Meath had just two points to spare (1-9 to 1-7) in Ballymahon as Mick O'Dowd launched his managerial reign with the perfect start against Longford. The notable inclusion of Joe Sheridan in midfield worked a treat for the Royals who recovered from the concession of a Donal McElligot goal to lead by 1-6 to 1-3 at half-time - Damien Carroll's penalty hauling them back into a winning position.
Louth also have full points in the group after they beat UCD in Drogheda by 2-15 to 1-13, with veteran Darren Clarke helping himself to 1-7. UCD, for whom Rory O'Carroll was sent off for a second bookable offence, scored a goal through Niall Kilroy while John Heslin (0-4) and Donie Kingston (0-3) also shone but Jim McEnaney's late goal ensured victory for the Wee County.
Offaly, meanwhile, won the battle with neighbours Laois in O'Connor Park, with Niall McNamee scoring eight points in total, six from play as Emmet McDonnell's men edged a 1-11 to 1-8 win.
In the other Group C encounter, Dessie Dolan marked his return to the Westmeath ranks after a year-long absence by scoring six frees after Westmeath hammered Athlone IT by 1-22 to 0-13.