Kerry brought their A game to Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday for this second round Joe McDonagh Cup tie.

The visitors lost to Down last week so, making the long journey up, they knew that anything less a win was not going to be good enough to stay in contention.

Carlow, on the other hand, had beaten Meath comprehensively and were not short of confidence.

The visitors hit the ground running and rocked their hosts. Shane Conway fired over two points from play and while Chris Nolan got Carlow off the mark, Conway converted a free to keep the pressure on a side playing with the aid of a strong wind.

Padraig Boyle knocked over two frees and a 65 as Kerry confidence soared. They tore into the game and nothing was going to stop them.

Approaching half-time, the home side managed to build up momentum and a side-line point from Diarmuid Byrne, a John Michael Nolan effort and two frees from Kavanagh helped reduce the visitors lead to 0-8 to 0-7 at half-time.

Kavanagh's equaliser on the restart suggested a home challenge. That lasted only as long as it took to speculate as much. Two placed balls from Boyle helped maintain the Kerry effort and the same player swooped for a 46th minute goal.

The home side were in deep trouble and it only got worse and worse for them. In Eoin Ross at full-back, Kerry had a leader and when he wasn’t helping to contain the Carlow attack, he came forward himself to land a visiting point.

Conway scored a goal to dash any chance of a late revival for Carlow. When they erred on a short-puck out, in came Niall Mulcahy and he rattled the home net yet again.

The game petered out. Kerry are now back in the hunt and after a big win last week, Carlow are left to wonder what happened.

Kerry: Louis Dee; Flor McCarthy, Eoin Ross (0-1), Eric Leen; Sean Weir, Mikey Boyle, Fionan MacKessy; Michael Leane, Colin Walsh; Padraig Boyle (1-11 6fs 3 65s), Colum Harty (0-1), Paidi O’Connor; Gavin Dooley, Daniel Collins, Shane Conway (1-3).

Subs: Niall Mulcahy (1-2) for Dooley (h/t), Maurice O’Connor for Collins (42), Jordan Conway (0-2) for Harty (52), Daniel O’Carroll (0-1) for Walsh (58), Mark Heffernan for Conway (66).

Carlow: Brian Tracey; Paul Doyle, Conor Lawlor, Michael Doyle; Jack McCullagh, Diarmuid Byrne (0-1 sl), Fiachra Fitzpatrick; Jack Kavanagh, Richard Coady; Sean Murphy, John Michael Nolan (0-1), Kevin McDonald; Conor Kehoe, Marty Kavanagh (0-10 7fs), Chris Nolan (0-2).

Subs: Tony Lawlor for J. Kavanagh (5), Paul Coady for Kehoe (h/t), Ted Joyce for McDonald (53), Fiach O’Toole (0-1) for Lawlor (59), Niall Bolger for Fitzpatrick (66).

Referee: Shane Hynes (Galway)