WHEN Kieran McGeeney came to Kildare he took over a team that were playing Division 1 football. In the spring of 2008 though the Lilies made their exit from the top flight and they haven’t been back there since. This year’s campaign has been their fourth on the trot in Division 2 but promotion is now firmly in their own hands, writes Ruth O’Brien.
Last Sunday the Lilies hammered Westmeath 3-23 to 1-12 in St Conleth’s Park thus ensuring a winner takes clash against Galway in Tuam Stadium on Easter Sunday. Kildare might have had a slow start but as this campaign progresses so do the performances and thus far last Sunday was the icing on the cake.
The Lilies were ruthless and despite the game being over as a contest early on they never once took the foot off the pedal. A first half goal from James Kavanagh was followed up by another from the Ballymore man after the turnaround and one from Emmet Bolton, while the points just kept on coming and coming. Naturally, the boss man was happy.
“I’m happy with the result and happy with the score even though it looked the other way for me with the penalty but I’m just being picky.
“You wouldn’t have expected to beat a team so well but that’s the way it seems to be going for them at the moment. In fairness to our fellas, I thought they moved the ball well apart from in the first seven or eight minutes. When they got in their stride they were moving it first time and taking the right options and sometimes that can make things look easy. When you stop doing that it can make it look hard but today they did the right thing for the majority of the game.
“There’s a tendency, when teams are so far ahead, for things to go against you or to take the foot off the pedal but today they kept at it but there’s a lot of fellas trying to make a claim for a place. I thought Mick Foley in midfield was outstanding and I thought his distribution was particularly good,” admitted McGeeney.
Foley did impress and he wasn’t the only stand out performer. Two goal hero Kavanagh, Mikey Conway and Hugh McGrillen stood out the most, while Emmet Bolton’s contribution of 1-1 from defence was also something to write home about.
The Lilies certainly seem to know where the net is now and the manager is thrilled his players are proving people wrong.
“I suppose when people tell you you can’t do something some fellas like to prove them wrong. They have been working harder at getting the ball in there but some days they go in for you and some days they don’t,” admitted the Armagh man.
It now all comes down to 70 minutes of football out west. A win or a draw will do Kildare, while the Galway must take two points in order to go up with Tyrone. It just might be a cracker and McGeeney is expecting nothing easy in Tuam, although if his side continuing to be as lethal in front of the posts then Galway won’t know what hit them.
“Scoreline wise it is the best of the year. I thought their movement last week against Louth too but each game is a step up and we have another one now against Galway. They beat Monaghan today and will feel quite confident playing at home,” said the manager.
After last Sunday Kildare too will feel confident.