Kildare cruise past Offaly’s poor challenge

KILDARE made light work of a desperately uncompetitive Offaly to set-up an O’Byrne Cup semi-final with All-Ireland champions Dublin that has an exciting feel to it, even at this early juncture of the season.

The home side were dominant in every sector, proving too strong and quick in thought and deed in defence, midfield and attack.

The middle third was a turkey shoot and on the rare occasion Offaly did get their hands on the ball, they turned it over very quickly under pressure.

New manager, Gerry Cooney wasn’t in attendance due to a charity commitment arranged prior to his appointment and he won’t enjoy watching the video, as his charges failed to score in the opening period, at the end of which they trailed by ten points.

Ronan Sweeney, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Mikey Conway and James Kavanagh were all multiple scorers for the winners in that period, and while William and Alan Mulhall shared four points evenly after the resumption, Offaly weren’t at the races.

Kildare boss, Kieran McGeeney expects that it will be very different when the sides meet in the first round of the championship next June, however.

“Football, as we all know, is a funny game” he said. “You go out one day… things didn’t’ bounce for them.

“Last week, they scored (3-6). If you think that’s the way Offaly will perform come the championship we’d all be very silly. They’ll learn more from today than we did. We can’t do much about that.”

However the Kildare boss will learn a few lessons himself next weekend

Scorers for Kildare: J Kavanagh (1f) 0-4, E O’Flaherty (2fs), R Sweeney, A Smith 0-3 each, M Conway (f) 0-2, T Moolick, M O’Flaherty 0-1 each

Scorers for Offaly: A Mulhall (1f), W Mulhall 0-2 each

KILDARE: S Connolly; P Kelly, C Fitzpatrick, O Lyons; B Flanagan, T O'Neill, E O'Falherty; D Flynn, R Sweeney; A Smith, M Conway, T Moolick; J Kavanagh, T O'Connor, K Ennis.

Subs: M O’Flaherty for Flanagan (45); R Kelly for Ennis (45); P Dunne for O’Connor (48); H McGrillen for E O’Flaherty (53); K Lynam for Guilfoyle (54); C Brophy for Flynn (58)

OFFALY: K Meehan; N Smith, P McConway, S Pender; D Kelly, B Darby, L Hiney; R Dalton, R Brady; G Guilfoyle, F Daly, A Keenaghan; W Mulhall, A Mulhall, K Casey.

Subs: G Treacy for Daly (28); D Currams for Casey (28); B Hanamy for Smith (43); J Keane for Brady inj (60)

Referee: D Goff (Meath)

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