McGeeney hails youngsters as Kildare in complete control

GLENN RYAN didn’t have a happy return to long-time stomping ground St Conleth’s Park as Kildare subjected his Longford side to a double-score beating in the O’Byrne Cup.

As expected, it was little more than a gentle pipe-opener in front of an attendance of 1100, though referee Niall Ward still managed to dole out eight yellow cards.

Most of the best football was played in the opening half, at the end of which Kildare led by 0-9 to 0-6.

Eoghan O’Flaherty was the only multiple scorer for the hosts during that period, with two points, as they proved a threat from numerous sectors of the field.

Minors last year, Tommy Moolick and Fionn Dowling showed well, while rookie corner-back Ciarán Fitzpatrick was impressive. Of the more established crew, Eamonn Callaghan was magnificent but Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney, reserved his highest praise for the youngsters.

“I thought we could have taken a couple of more scores but we kept it simple. We didn’t have much of our first team out, so it was good to see them sticking to the same type of play.

“If you go through the history of Gaelic games there is always 18 or 19-year-olds - whether it was the likes of Ronan Clarke, (Peter) Canavan or Rory Gallagher - who make big impressions on their first year. They are special players, but you only realise being special when you work hard.”

Bernard McElvaney got Longford off to a good start with a brilliant point from a tight angle and DonalMcElligott doubled their advantage in the fifth minute, but the visitors were over-reliant on the latter for scores.

Paul Kelly had a deflected shot well saved by Shane Connolly between the Kildare posts, but the wing-forward should have had a free as he pushed in the act of shooting.

Mark O’Sullivan got Kildare on the board and by the ninth minute they were ahead after O’Flaherty slotted his first free.

A run of four points in five minutes mid-way through the half established their advantage, and they pushed home their superiority after the resumption as Longford could only manage two points from the boot of McElligott.

Willie Heffernan was involved in many of Kildare’s scores as the focal point of their attack and he earned his reward with a late point after a one-two with Padraig O’Neill to became his side’s ninth scorer.

Scorers for Kildare: O’Flaherty 0-6 (5 frees); O’Sullivan, Dowling 0-2 each; Scanlon, Callaghan, O’Neill, Moolick, Ennis, Heffernan 0-1 each.Scores for Longford: D McElligott 0-6(4 frees); B McElvaney, P Dowd 0-1 each.KILDARE: S. Connolly; O. Lyons, D. Hendy, C. Fitzpatrick; M. Scanlon, M. Foley, E. Callaghan; H. Lynch, P. O’Neill; T. Moolick, E. O’Flaherty, M. O’Sullivan; K. Ennis, W. Heffernan, F. Dowling.

Subs: A. Smith for Dowling (56); E. McCormack for Ennis (56); D. Whyte for Lynch (57); C .Tiernan for Moolick (69).

LONGFORD: J. McKenna; D. Brady, B. Gilleran, D. Reilly; C.P. Smyth, K. Diffley, S. Mulligan; J. Keegan, B. McElvaney; P. Kelly, D. McElligott, D. Barden; J. Noonan, P. Dowd, S. McCormack.

Sub: E. Williams for Kelly (34); N. Farrell for Smyth (57); T. Gallagher for Reilly (59); J.J. Mathews for Noonan (59); J. O’Shea for Dowd (68).

Referee: N Ward (Westmeath).

More in this section

courtsgaafootballplace: st conleth’s parkperson: mcgeeneyperson: glenn ryanperson: niall wardperson: eoghan o’flahertyperson: tommy moolickperson: fionn dowlingperson: ciaran fitzpatrickperson: eamonn callaghanperson: kieran mcgeeneyperson: ronan clarkeperson: (peter) canavanperson: rory gallagherperson: bernard mcelvaneyperson: donalmcelligottperson: paul kellyperson: shane connollyperson: mark o’sullivanperson: o’flahertyperson: mcelligottperson: willie heffernanperson: padraig o’neillperson: o’sullivanperson: dowlingperson: scanlonperson: callaghanperson: o’neillperson: moolickperson: ennisperson: heffernanperson: b mcelvaneyperson: s. connollyperson: o. lyonsperson: d. hendyperson: c. fitzpatrickperson: m. scanlonperson: m. foleyperson: e. callaghanperson: h. lynchperson: p. o’neillperson: t. moolickperson: e. o’flahertyperson: m. o’sullivanperson: k. ennisperson: w. heffernanperson: f. dowlingperson: a. smithperson: e. mccormackperson: d. whyteperson: lynchperson: c .tiernanperson: j. mckennaperson: d. bradyperson: b. gilleranperson: d. reillyperson: c.p. smythperson: k. diffleyperson: s. mulliganperson: j. keeganperson: b. mcelvaneyperson: p. kellyperson: d. mcelligottperson: d. bardenperson: j. noonanperson: p. dowdperson: e. williamsperson: kellyperson: n. farrellperson: smythperson: t. gallagherperson: reillyperson: j.j. mathewsperson: noonanperson: j. o’sheaperson: dowdperson: n wardevent: o’byrne cuporganisation: kildareorganisation: longford
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