Kildare have a dreadful record against Dublin in league and championship in recent years but the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup has proved an exception.
Pre-season pre-eminence means nothing, as Lilywhite manager Jason Ryan reminded people again after last Sunday’ 12 point defeat of DIT.
Nonetheless, having trumped the Dubs after extra time in the 2012 final at Parnell Park and come out on top in another meeting at St Conleth’s Park the previous season, winning next Sunday’s final in Newbridge would be a good experience.
That would certainly be the case for the younger crew, given the 39 point cumulative hammerings they have endured in the last three competitive clashes (two league, one championship).
The priority for Ryan is not to make it an O’Byrne Cup three-in-a-row however. It is to give players game-time and he has used in the region of 40 individuals in four matches so far. Keith Cribbin is likely to add to that figure as he becomes the latest to return from injury at the weekend.
Whatever the line-ups, the clash with Dublin is certain to provide the stiffest test to date and be the perfect preparation for the commencement of the league.
“We're playing consistently and gradually getting better” says Eoghan O’Flaherty, who is now one of the senior figures in the camp. “It will be a good game. I'm sure it will draw a nice crowd. We'll look forward to it.
“Dublin are trying out guys as well but the level of club teams in Dublin is probably vastly superior to the rest of the counties, so when they are giving players chances, they're more than capable of playing at inter-county level.”
O’Flaherty scored 1-4 (1-3 from play) in the 2-15 to 0-9 defeat of DIT and is pleased with his early-season form.
“The goal was a bit fortunate, it got a bit of a deflection but I won't complain. It's nice to be getting scores but we won't be getting carried away. It's still early in the year and there's a long way to go.
“The league goes on for a couple of months, so it's nice to be scoring but it's more important to keep the head down and keep working towards the summer time.”