Kildare 0-11 Fermanagh 0-5
Kildare’s season has taken off, and suddenly they find themselves in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
It is an unlikely scenario for a side that just a short time ago appeared to be going nowhere, having lost to Wicklow in the Leinster SFC
They carved out an unspectacular win over a Fermanagh side that kicked themselves out of it in the first half.
Once again, John Doyle emerged as the key figure, hitting five points as the Lilywhites moved into the last eight.
The quality of the game left much to be desired, but that won’t worry Kieran McGeeney, who in the space of a couple of weeks has been transformed from an under-pressure manager to a Messiah.
An error-ridden first half produced just five scores, with Fermanagh the more culpable of two wasteful teams.
Remarkably, it wasn’t until the 25th minute that the game’s opening point was scored by Lilywhite centre forward Padraig O’Neill.
By that time Fermanagh had already kicked eight of their 11 first half wides, and Kildare had missed a penalty.
John Doyle was fouled by goalkeeper Ronan Gallagher in the 15th minute, but Doyle’s poor spot kick was easily stopped by the Fermanagh man.
Eamon Maguire finally opened the Erne account in the 26th minute, and Ryan Keenan added another, but scores from Dermot Earley and Doyle, from a free, sent the Leinster men in with a 0-3 to 0-2 interval lead.
Doyle and James Kavanagh, with two each, had Kildare ahead by 0-7 to 0-4 after an hour’s play, with Tom Brewster and Shaun Doherty n target for Fermanagh.
The Ulster men almost had a goal when Shane McDermott and Mark Little combined to send midfielder Mark Murphy through, but goalkeeper Enda Murphy advanced to pull off an excellent save.
The final 10 minutes saw the Lilywhites pull away, and points from Doyle, wing back Emmet Bolton and substitute Daryll Flynn eased them over the finish line, with little resistance from Fermanagh.
Kildare: E Murphy, M O’Flaherty, K O’Neill, A McLoughlin, E Bolton (0-1), M Foley, M Scanlon, K Brennan, D Earley (0-1), J Kavanagh (0-2), P O’Neill (0-1), E Callaghan, A Smyth, G White, J Doyle (0-5, 2 frees, 1 ‘45’).
Subs: M Conway for Callaghan, D Flynn (0-1) for Brennan, R Sweeney for Smyth, A Rainbow for Bolton, D Brennan for McLoughlin
Fermanagh: R Gallagher, S Goan, S McDermott, P Sherry, D Kelly, R McCloskey, McElroy, M McGrath, M Murphy, C McElroy, T Brewster (0-1), R Keenan (0-1), E Maguire (0-1), L McBarron, M Little (0-1, free).
Subs: S Doherty (0-1) for McBarron, S McCabe for McElroy, P Cadden for Brewster, J Sherry for Keenan
Referee: A Mangan (Kerry).