IT was a case of quality over substance at St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge last Sunday as Kildare made it back-to-back wins which booked a Kehoe Cup final meeting against Meath in Navan this weekend, writes John Ryan.
Kehoe Cup Semi Final
The Lilywhites, fresh from their facile win in Louth seven days previous, struggled however for long spells of the first half to exert themselves on an opposition who brought plenty of endeavour and workmanship to the table.
Even though there was an over-reliance on centre-forward, Rory Convery who pointed six of Derry’s nine first half scores, the sides were level on four occasions during that same period as the Oak Leaf men’s in-your-face approach frustratingly stifled their hosts.
On the balance of it Willie Sunderland’s Kildare created far and away more of the chances, some of which were goal opportunities, and while they squandered a few – seven wides, four from frees – a second goal from Paul Divilly five minutes before the interval moved the home side into a lead that they never relinquished.
The second half, while a marked improvement in value, transpired however to be a mere formality for Kildare, who tightened up at one end and expressed themselves with greater reward at the other as the Ulster men fell away badly.
Once again, team captain Divilly – who plundered 0-8 in the 1-19 to 0-6 dismissal of Louth - was the scorer-in-chief here for Kildare, with the Confey man adding 2-6 to his name, with all bar his second major coming from placed balls.
His first goal, a fifth minute 20 metre free that flew to the roof of the net, established a 1-1 to 0-1 lead, that after Tony Murphy and Convery (free) had traded scores.
Indeed, the game developed into something of a shoot-out between Divilly and Convery, as the sides swapped scores without either team ever establishing anything more than a single point lead.
Worryingly, a whole 20 minutes passed before Kildare scored their first from play, that a point from corner-forward Gerry Keegan that levelled matters at 1-3 to 0-6.
A fifth free from Convery briefly moved Derry back in front before Keegan, who finished with 0-4, danced his way clear down the right and while he passed up an opportunity to take a straight-forward point, he nonetheless had the presence of mind to brilliantly square for Divilly, who turned home to the onion sack with consummate ease.
At other end Michael Kirkpatrick and midfielder Dara McCloskey pegged back by minors either chance of a missed goal chance for the former, only for Danny Butler and Divilly to raise white flags for the home side which left matters 2-6 to 0-9 at the break.
In contrast to the first, the second half proved to be far less competitive, much of which was down to Kildare finally exerting themselves completely on proceedings.
After Derry sub, Kevin Hinphey, Murphy, Keegan and Convery (free) traded scores, Kildare had the finishing post in sight after striking for six unanswered points between the 40th and 59th minutes, Divilly (4), Keegan and the hard-grafting Danny Butler all finding their range for a 2-14 to 0-11 advantage.
Twenty minutes after their last score, Oisin McCloskey pointed for Derry just past the hour and Convery followed suit moments later, leaving the way clear for subs David Harney and David Kennedy to close out the scoring for Kildare.
Kildare, Paul Divilly 2-6 (1-6f), Gerry Keegan 0-4, Tony Murphy 0-2, Danny Butler 0-2, David Harney 0-1, David Kennedy 0-1.
Derry: Rory Convery 0-8 (8f), Dara McCloskey 0-1, Oisin McCloskey 0-1, Michael Kirkpatrick 0-1, Brendan Rodgers 0-1, Kevin Hinphey 0-1.
Paddy McKenna; Paul Keegan, Fiachra O Muineachain, Patrick Curtin; Kieran Divilly, Richie Hoban, Neil O Muineachain; Danny Butler, Eanna O’Neill; Bernard Deay, Mark Moloney, Peadar Downey; Tony Murphy, Paul Divilly, Gerry Keegan. Subs: David Harney for Downey (h/t); David Kennedy for Deay (h/t); Gavin Tynan for Butler (blood-sub, 54-58 mins); Paudie Reidy for Fiachra O Muineachain (66 mins); Mark Delaney for Murphy (69 mins).
Daral McDermott; Connor McSorley, Connor Quinn, John McCloskey; Ruairi McCloskey, Liam Hinphey, Michael Warnock; Dara McCloskey, Oisin McCloskey; Brendan Quigley, Rory Convery, Tiernan McCloskey; Paul Cleary, Michael Kirkpatrick, Brendan Rodgers. Subs: Kevin Hinphy for Quigley (h/t); Paddy Kelly for McSorley (45 mins); Chris Convery for Cleary (45 mins); Niall Ferris for Rodgers (56 mins); Liam Murphy for Liam Hinphy (62 mins).
Maurice Flynn (Kilkenny).