THE week before Kildare needed extra time to get over Limerick but last Saturday, in Dr Hyde Park, they had things all their own way against a poor Sligo outfit, writes Ruth Chambers.
At full time captain Johnny Doyle was simply thankful for having the job done. Thankful to be back in an All Ireland quarter final for the fifth year on the trot.
“It was one of those games that didn’t feel like it was easy. We’re just delighted to get through it and be in the quarter final. You want to win every match and you can only win the one you have to play in. We’re happy enough, we worked hard and we got the result,” admitted the Allenwood man. Kildare, under manager Kieran McGeeney, have never been beaten in the All Ireland qualifiers. It’s an impressive record but no significant silverware has been collected and Doyle insists the Lilies need to keep the heads down, work hard, perform and be ready for the Rebels.
“That trend (unbeaten record) is there but it’s all about the next game now and being ready,” insisted Kildare’s captain.
He added: “Today’s game was a different type of game than the Limerick game. Every game is different and you can’t read too much in to the last game and unbeaten records. We’ve seen that right throughout the championship with different teams. Look at Kerry against Westmeath for example. Westmeath probably should have beaten them and then Kerry come out and produce a performance like they did against Tyrone.”
Nonetheless Doyle is thrilled to be still in the hunt for Sam. The quarter final meeting with Cork will be a much sterner test. There can be little doubt of that.
“We are where we want to be but at the start of the year you don’t think like that. It’s an old cliche but it’s all about the next game and that’s the way it is. The journey has to start with the first step and then when it’s coming every week you just have to get the result and move on and work hard for the week and try to learn something. You have to try to keep on top of your game because what worked well today for us won’t necessarily work well the next day,” remarked Doyle.
Against Sligo Kildare were intent on not making the same mistakes as they did against the Treatymen the week before. From the off the Lilies dominated, had a superb start and never looked back. Sligo may not have been any great shakes but Kildare got it right on Saturday, did the business and eased through.
“We won the toss and we wanted to start well. When we had the elements it was important to use them to our advantage. We got a few early scores on the board and that was important. The lads worked really hard when we didn’t have the ball as well and we just didn’t give them (Sligo) time to settle on the ball,” admitted the captain.
Cork will be a different kettle of fish this weekend. More than a step above and if the Lilies want to make it to the last four they are going to have to step it up considerably. For now though they have negotiated another assignment and came out with top marks.