Newbridge nowhere near like a problem for Tyrone

Newbridge nowhere near like a problem for Tyrone
Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kildare 1-15 - 2-22 Tyrone

No fireworks in Newbridge. Not this time.

It was one day short of a year since Kildare had accounted for Mayo at this same juncture of the championship and the 'Newbridge of Nowhere' mural that summed up the home team's belligerence that entire week still adorns a wall on the way in to the ground here.

That – and the weltering heat on the day - was as far as the similarities went, unfortunately.

This All-Ireland round three qualifier will fade into obscurity long before the events that captivated a nation here 12 months ago, regardless of what an impressive Tyrone side do between now and late August.

Tapping into the sense of injustice that had spiked on the back of Croke Park's initial refusal to allow that Mayo game go ahead here last summer was always going to be a fool's errand and the home side looked worryingly listless and off the pace as Tyrone bossed the opening jousts.

Kildare had just the one point to their credit at the end of the first quarter, their struggles up front accounted for by a disciplined and well-staffed Tyrone defence and their own tendencies to lapse into endless passages of play that were both too lateral and too slow.

Excuse the pun but they were going nowhere in Newbridge.

Tyrone were far more clinical and direct, their running full of purpose and direction.

A surfeit of overlapping runners from the back was essential to their cause and defender Michael Cassidy highlighted as much by finding the net after a superbly intricate team move after just six minutes.

Kildare found their balance eventually but were six points adrift by the time this happened, their frustrations evident when manager Cian O'Neill was sent to the stands by the referee before pausing at the gate and spending the rest of the game suspended there between both benches.

His team's improved fortunes at that point owed more than a little to midfielder Fergal Conway who landed three points from play and it was his ignition which kickstarted the move for the goal that was eventually scored by Kevin Feely, his partner in the centre.

Conway seemed to carry the ball too far, a suspicion confirmed by referee Paddy Neilan who raised his whistle to his lips before thinking twice, but the split second of uncertainty that caused in the Tyrone defence accommodated a pass to Peter Kelly who fed Keith Cribbin and from there the way was open for Feely to finish.

The gap at the break was just three points and, with the wind at their backs after the interval and the sloppy start behind them, Kildare should have felt a degree of confidence on the restart against a Tyrone side that had left a few too many points slip wide or short of the posts.

But what Kildare couldn't afford was another sluggish opening.

They weren't quite so far off the pace second time around but it was enough to undo a fair chunk of the restorative work they had put in at the end of that first-half.

Tyrone bossed possession and territory, stretching the advantage out to half-a-dozen points as the final quarter dawned and Kildare's troubles were all the more acute given full-back Mick O'Grady was sent off for a second yellow card with 48 minutes on the clock.

There was never a point in the half where Kildare threatened a head of steam and Darren McCurry's fisted goal six minutes from time was little more than an embellishment on the scoreboard for a side that was already six points to the good and perfectly comfortable.

An impressive, clinical effort from the visitors, then – and 2-22 is not be sniffed at - but one that has to be framed with care given the lacklustre challenge they faced from Kildare who may well have come to the end of the road they have travelled under O'Neill.

Scorers for Kildare: K Feely (1-2); F Conway (0-3); A Tyrrell (0-5, 4 frees); N Flynn (0-3, 2 frees); P Kelly and T Moolick (both 0-1).

Scorers for Tyrone: P Harte (0-7, 3 frees); D McCurry (1-2); C McShane 0-5, 2 frees); M Donnelly (0-3); M Cassidy (1-0); F Burns (0-2); R Brennan, C Cavanagh, C McAliskey (all 0-1).

Kildare: M Donnellan; M Dempsey, M O'Grady, P Kelly; C O'Donoghue, E Doyle, D Hyland; K Feely, F Conway; D Slattery, C Healy, K Cribbin; A Tyrrell, B McCormack, N Flynn.

Subs: J Hyland for McCormack (11); T Moolick for Cribbin (59); M Barrett for Healy (52); E O'Flaherty for Slattery (60); K O'Callaghan for Flynn (64); C McNally for J Hyland (68).

Tyrone: N Morgan, HP McGeary, R McNamee, R Brennan; M Cassidy, K McGeary, F Burns; C Cavanagh, B Kennedy; M Donnelly, N Sludden, C Meyler; D McCurry, C McShane, P Harte.

Subs: B McDonnell for Kennedy (black card, 23); M McKernan for K McGeary (55); C McAliskey for Sludden (60); K Coney for McCurry (66); C McLaughlin for HP McGeary (71); A McCrory for Cassidy (72).

Referee: P Neilan (Roscommon).

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