Cian O’Neill hails Kildare’s resilience

Kildare 1-12 Offaly 1-8: Kildare made it two wins from two as they bid to make a quick return to the second tier of League football.
Cian O’Neill hails Kildare’s resilience

The home team tore out of the traps with Niall Kelly kicking three points in the first six minutes and when the brilliant Kevin Feely scored his first point in senior inter-county football, they were five points clear after 15 minutes. Niall McNamee finally got Offaly off the mark soon after and Pat Flanagan’s side would not have been too disappointed going in at the break 0-8 to 0-4 in arrears, given their poor start and the strength of the wind.

Cathal McNally finished brilliantly for a goal in the 47th minute after being sent clear by a delightful kick pass by Eamonn Callaghan and with Feely and Daniel Flynn dominant around the middle, the margin became nine.

Just as they did against Westmeath though, Kildare failed to kill of their opponents, and Peter Cunningham’s expertly-converted 65th minute penalty fuelled a late Offaly charge.

Kildare had done enough though and Neil Flynn’s fourth second-half point from a free in injury time settled the tie.

“(It was) very similar to last week, where we controlled the early parts of the game and for some reason, we kind of drift out of a match when we should be controlling it, and let the other team in, and I think that’s what happened in the second quarter of the game,” said Kildare boss Cian O’Neill.

“We brought them back in through needless fouls and sloppy play. But we regrouped at half-time and I was very happy with the way we started the second half. We came out showing real intent and probably didn’t take a couple of chances. But once we got a grip around midfield again, I think that’s where the game was won and lost. When we controlled midfield in the first quarter, in the third quarter, we controlled the game.

“Once again you’d have to be very happy with the players. They were resilient, because they were put under pressure by Offaly who got a lot of momentum after the penalty. Plenty to work on and improve on but you’d have to be happy with what the guys did, especially when they saw the games out in the last five minutes.”

Scorers for Kildare:

N Kelly, N Flynn(fs) 0-4 each; Cathal McNally 1-0, P Cribbin 0-2; K Feely, A Tyrrell 0-1.

Offaly:

P Cunningham 1-1(pen); N McNamee 0-2; C Donoghue, G Guilfoyle, S Moriarty, B Allen(f), J Maher(f) 0-1.

KILDARE:

M Donnellan, P Kelly, D Hyland, O Lyons, R Houlihan, F Conway, C O’Donoghue, Daniel Flynn, K Feely, A Tyrell, P Cribbin, C McNally, N Flynn, E Callaghan, N Kelly.

Subs:

E O’Flaherty for Cribbin (ht), P O’Neill for Tyrell (45), E Bolton for Houlihan (53), E Powderly for Lyons (60), M Sherry for Callaghan (63), J Byrne for O’Donoghue BC (65)

OFFALY:

A Mulhall, B Darby, E Rigney, S Pender, N Darby, C Donoghue, J O’Connor, G Guilfoyle J Gethings, C McNamee, W Mulhall, S Moriarty, B Allen, P Cunningham, N McNamee.

Subs:

J Maher for Allen (ht), N Smith for Gethings (45), A Sullivan for C McNamee (46), N Bracken for Moriarty (55), D Brady for B Darby (62), M Brazil for W Mulhall (64)

Referee:

J Henry (Mayo).

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