IN times gone by, when their back were up against the wall, Kildare would have crumbled, would have come out Navan defeated but last Sunday they showed a steely determination to pick up their first two points of their Allianz Hurling League Division 2B campaign last Sunday.
It wasn’t perfect, far from a classic display from the Lilies but when Meath threw the proverbial kitchen sink at them they withstood the pressure, tagged on an insurance point and held out for a two point win. Manager Willie Sunderland was delighted at full time and hopes that victory will set his side on route to a very good run in this division.
“Somebody has just said to me that on another day Kildare would have lost that and that speaks volumes for what the lads are putting in and they showed that little bit of hunger, they were really up against it but I couldn’t be happier that they came out with a victory in the end,” said the Wexford native.
With one game down and four to go Sunderland has set his sights on winning the division. Ideally the Lilies would need for wins to possibly come out of it but the manager is gunning for a 100 per cent record.
“I’d be going out to win all five games to tell you the truth. It’s the only way to go about it. I don’t think you you can take the foot off the pedal and afford to lose one game. Ultimately we want to win every game but don’t get me wrong, I’m looking no further than London but you have to set yourself goals otherwise where are you going?” asked Sunderland.
Starting off with a win can only give Kildare confidence and despite injuries to goalkeeper Paul Dermody and Paul Keegan, it was a good day for the Lilies. Their first competitive game of the year in the Kehoe Cup against GMIT was a disappointing one but they have firmly put that behind them now.
“Overall I think it’s a step forward from the GMIT game and a big step forward at that. It was a big physical battle out there and the lads stood up to it really well. I’m thrilled for them because they have put in a savage effort and it would have been a travesty to leave here today without a victory. I think it (the victory) will stand them in good stead now further down the road,” said Sunderland.
He added: “A victory like that will certainly breed confidence. They know they had their backs to the wall, they know they made mistakes, I know they did sloppy things but at the end of the day I’ll take a victory anytime, let it be sloppy or otherwise.”
– Ruth O’Brien