No final favours from Kildare

KIERAN McGEENEY doesn’t see any reason why Kildare would support a proposal to bring forward the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup final.

The defending champions face 2010 winners DCU in the decider scheduled for next Sunday after a resounding victory over Dublin in a heated affair in front of a healthy 6,086 crowd in St Conleth’s Park.

DCU manager Niall Moyna said they will contact the Leinster Council about the possibility of rearranging the game in Newbridge for an earlier date. They play Cork IT in a Sigerson Cup opener tomorrow week and could put out a second-string team against Kildare.

However, McGeeney revealed there is little appetite for changing the fixture to midweek.

“That’s not up to me,” he said. “It really is nothing to do with inter-county teams, the Sigerson, you know.

“I don’t know, I don’t see any reason for it to be changed.”

On a day when Kildare inflicted Dublin’s first loss since the league deccider in April, the speculation about Cavan forward Seanie Johnston switching to the Lilywhites was rife, although McGeeney was loath to agree he is the type of player the team needs.

“Every player that turns up to training and plays well gets on. If he is good enough then you need him. If he doesn’t you don’t need him and somebody else takes that position.”

Before throw-in, there were also the heartening appearances by midfielders Dermot Earley and Hugh Lynch completing a training session and McGeeney hopes they’ll be available for action in March.

The talking points from the game were the two sendings-off and the goal, which seemed to swing things firmly in Kildare’s favour even though McGeeney argued they were in control of the game before Ronan Sweeney’s 47th minute penalty.

Tomás O’Connor, whose mitts were over a handful of Kildare scores, was clearly fouled by Seán Murray and Sweeney’s finish past Michael Savage was exquisite.

Kildare will take heart from the fact they led 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time despite facing a stiff breeze and losing Morgan O’Flaherty to a second yellow.

Eddie Kinsella’s decision that crowned the defender’s fate appeared tough after a late if more clumsy tackle on Paddy Andrews.

“We felt it was harsh but you just have to take it on the chin and move on,” shrugged McGeeney.

Kildare did exactly that, pushing on to lead by one at the break with Alan Smith adding a free and then wriggling away from his marker to add his third of the game, Dublin’s one reply coming from a Tomás Quinn free.

Half-time substitute Hugh McGrillen was a welcome introduction and he put two between the teams in the 39th minute.

Quinn responded again from a placed ball but Dublin were also reduced to 14 men in the 43rd minute when Paul Brogan picked up a second caution for a high challenge on James Kavanagh.

Pat Gilroy didn’t grumble about Kinsella’s call nor who were the better side on the day and was disappointed with his team’s discipline.

“Referees seem to be very strict in O’Byrne Cup type matches, there seem to be an awful lot of frees for innocuous things.

“I didn’t think either one of them were sending-offs but at the same time strictly speaking they were so we just have to live with that.

“It’s a part of our game that wasn’t particularly good today, we weren’t particularly disciplined so it’s something we need to address for sure.”

The penalty was awarded just two minutes later and from there Kildare didn’t look back. Mikey Conway struck over a free and Kavanagh split the posts to widen the gap to eight.

Quinn, again from a free, and Bryan Cullen hauled back a couple but Dublin didn’t score again until injury-time when substitute Brendan McManamon, brother of Kevin, found his range.

In the interim, substitutes Fionn Dowling, profiting from an O’Connor pass, and Robert Kelly fired over scores and Conway followed suit.

Afterwards, Gilroy revealed Dublin are likely to be missing up to 10 players for the Division 1 opener against Kerry on Saturday week with Alan and Bernard Brogan, Barry Cahill, Denis Bastick and Kevin Nolan among the certain absentees.

Scorers for Kildare: R Sweeney 1-1, A Smith (2fs), M Conway (1f) 0-3 each, H McGrillen, J Kavanagh, F Dowling, R Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dublin: T Quinn 0-5 (4f, 1 s/l); P Andrews, B Cullen, B McManamon 0-1 each.

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

Subs: H McGrillen for Moolick (ht), F Dowling for O’Neill and R Kelly for Smith (both 47), E Callaghan for Kavanagh (57), G White for Sweeney (61).

Red card: M O’Flaherty (31, second yellow).

DUBLIN: M Savage; M Fitzsimons, S Murray, D Daly; C O’Sullivan, G Brennan, D Byrne; MD Macauley, R McConnell; B Cullen, P Andrews, P Brogan; T Quinn, E Fennell, K McManamon.

Subs: D Connolly for Macauley (31), D Lally for Brennan (46), B McManamon for Quinn (52), G McIntyre for Andrews (59), J Small for O’Sullivan (69).

Red card: P Brogan (43, second yellow).

Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois).

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