KILDARE Catholic College's quest for a third straight Carroll Cup crown began in strong fashion with a 9.6 (60) to 4.5 (29) win over traditional rivals Mater Dei Catholic College at a rain-soaked Robertson Oval on Wednesday night.
A young Mater Dei outfit looked capable of an upset when full forward Nathanael Mooney booted his side's first four goals to give them a nine-point lead midway through the second quarter.
But a classy five-goal display from Kildare's Ryan Allen was essentially the difference in difficult conditions.
After Bart Carroll's second major of the night reduced the gap to two points at the main break, the defending champions took a stranglehold on the game with a dominant four goals-to-none third term.
Ignatius Lyons scored the first goal soon after halftime to put Kildare back in front, and when Allen booted the other three goals of the quarter they'd wrested back all the momentum.
"Ryan's an outstanding athlete but I was very pleased right across the field," Kildare coach Peter Gaffney said.
"It's the first game we've played as a team so I was really pleased with the effort."
Mater Dei fielded one of their youngest sides ever, with just five players tasting Carroll Cup action previously.
In the Pool B game, Wagga High School tall forward Michael Driscoll booted nine goals in his team's 22.13 (145) to 0.1 (1) victory over Mount Austin High School.
"He (Driscoll) obviously is a fairly big kid and has got experience at high levels, he's involved in the talent programs around town," Wagga High coach Heath Russell said.
"What we were looking for was structure and once the scoreboard looked after itself we didn't want the boys to get selfish."
KILDARE CATHOLIC COLLEGE 3.1 4.2 8.5 9.6 (60)
MATER DEI CATHOLIC COLLEGE 3.3 4.4 4.5 (29)
GOALS: KILDARE - R Allen 5, Carroll 2, S Macklan, I Lyons. MATER DEI - N Mooney 4
BEST: KILDARE - R Allen, W Reinhold, T Sase, A White. MATER DEI - N Mooney, L Johnson, W Hamblin, R Bourne.
WAGGA HIGH 4.5 12.8 17.9 22.13 (145) def
MT AUSTIN 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 (1)
GOALS: WAGGA HIGH - M Driscoll 9, N Cawley 3, B Clark 2, J Mattingly 2, T Meriton, B Walker, R Whiting, N Watters, B Bennett, J Beath
BEST: WAGGA HIGH - M Driscoll, J Mattingly, H Radley, N Cawley, B Walker. MT AUSTIN - M Charles, J White, C Carey.
Girls matches: Kildare 5.4 (34) def Mater Dei 2.2 (14); Wagga High 7.7 (49) def Kooringal High 2.1 (13)