KILDARE 0-10 GALWAY 0-16: Galway warmed up for next week’s league final against Dublin with a stylish win over a totally demoralised Kildare side at St Conleth’s Park yesterday afternoon.
These two teams were promoted from Division 2 last season but since then their fortunes could hardly be more contrasting. Kevin Walsh’s side are brimming with confidence and everything they do seems to work perfectly.
With one eye on that final against Dublin, Walsh took the chance to rest some of his star players but everyone who came into the team staked their claim for a place in the starting line-up.
Suddenly it appears that Walsh has an embarrassment of riches on his hands and with the Corofin contingent still to come back into contention, he has the kind of selection headaches that every manager wants.
What Cian O’Neill would give to have those sort of problems. He gave two youngsters their first league starts and brought on another three league debutants but it was only the returning Eanna O’Connor that offered any sort of positives for the team.
The Kerry man played a handful of league games for Kildare back in 2016 but was recalled to the panel following some impressive displays for Leinster champions Moorefield and he finished with four points.
Elsewhere, Kildare looked short of confidence and belief and clearly the winless run which stretches back to last year’s Leinster semi-final has started to weigh heavily on them.
In the end, it was an ideal build-up for Galway to their league final against Dublin next week. It was a game they dominated from start to finish without have to overly exert themselves.
Patrick Sweeney kicked the opening two scores of the game and from there on, they had a stranglehold on proceedings.
O’Connor and Tommy Moolick briefly kicked Kildare level but that was the only time in the game that Galway weren’t ahead.
Eamon Brannigan and Sean Kelly caused Kildare all sorts of problems with their pacy running and although Galway led 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time, their lead would have been greater had Kelly scored from the one goal chance in the half, but he shot wide from a great position after 17 minutes.
In the second half, Kildare had chances to put pressure on Galway but time and again their shot selection, and then shot execution, let them down. They ended with a total of 15 wides.
As Galway already began to turn their thoughts to Dublin, Kildare were able to cut their lead back to three points with three minutes remaining.
But Galway always had another gear to move into and they scored the last three points to end their league campaign with their easiest win.
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Scorers for Galway:
S Armstrong (0-3, 1 free); S Kelly, P Cunningham and P Sweeney (0-2 each); J Duane, F Burke, A Varley, S Walsh (free), M Daly, C D’Arcy and E Finnerty (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kildare:
E O’Connor (0-4, 1f, 1 45); J Byrne, P Cribbin, D Courtney, T Moolick, J Hyland and P Brophy (0-1 each).
R Lavelle; E Wynne, D Kyne, D Wynne; G O’Donnell, J Duane, G Bradshaw; T Flynn, C Duggan; E Finnerty, P Sweeney, S Kelly; E Brannigan, S Armstrong, P Cunningham.
S Walsh for Kelly, h/t; F Burke for Sweeney, 46; C D’Arcy for Armstrong, 57; M Daly for Finnerty, 53; A Varley for Cunningham, 67.
A O’Neill; P Kelly, D Hyland, M Hyland; J Byrne, E Doyle, K Flynn; P Cribbin, T Moolick; F Conway, E O’Connor, P Brophy; E Callaghan, J Hyland, K Cribbin.
M Dempsey for M Hyland, h/t; F Dowling for Conway, 45; D Slattery for Callaghan, 52; D Courtney for Byrne, 55; R Ó’Giollain for J Hyland, 68.
Conor Lane (Cork).
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