Lots of positives ... despite a lack lustre performance

TWO goals scored.

TWO goals scored.

Not forgetting the 13 points.

Back-to-back wins.

Victory in the bottle green shirts.

Dermot Earley back in harness. And scoring the final point at that.

Fairytale stuff.

All is well? Yes? Surely?

Well, yes ... maybe ... maybe not.

After the previous week’s intensive and exciting win over the Royals at Pairc Tailteann this game lacked spark, certainly lacked intensity and even at times a little urgency.

Hard to put one’s finger on why exactly though.

Possibly the euphoria after round three’s pulsating encounter but there was certainly something missing, even the 3,500 or so customers that came through the turn styles seemed somewhat subdued at times. That was of course before Dermot made his entrance.

The Derry contingent was extremely small and muted, something that always gives an indication of the standing of the visiting team.

Of course the main thing from Sunday’s game is the result but before Kildare fans start to go on their seasonal dream boat to nowhere there are a few things that need to be remembered and considered.]

This was a Derry team stripped of many players due to a combination of injuries, wedding bells and a retirement or two.

Of the team that Kildare played, and defeated last July in Croke Park in round four of the qualifiers Derry began on Sunday with just Charlie Kielt, Barry McGoldrick, Seán McGoldrick and Conleth Gilligan, just four from the side that Kildare defeated 0-19 to 0-13. And even at that Gilligan was a late call up after original selection Cailean O’Boyle was deemed not fit enough to start but fit enough to come on in the 43 minute (something that always amuses me).

Kildare, on the other hand had twelve of that that particular successful side in their ranks from last July.

Derry are certainly going through a bad spell on the injury front at the minute and while that is not Kildare’s problem, it is something nevertheless that should not be forgotten.

Have no doubt Kildare deserved to chalk up their second win on the trot in this season’s Allianz Football League, a win that will certainly ensure a healthy attendance (as usual) in Drogheda on Sunday where a win would be a major boost from a promotional view point.

Maybe that game in Navan took a bit more out of the Kildare players that one would have thought initially.

Certainly one would be somewhat concerned, particularly early on, when Derry attacked they looked very dangerous and had the Kildare defence on the back foot. Gradually though they (Kildare) came to terms with the situation despite an amount of mistakes, an amount of very poor foot passing and passing in general that went astray seemed way above the norm.

Paddy Bradley was always going to pose a problem for Kildare, as he does with every side he faces. He is a class act and the task of looking after him was handed to Peter Kelly.

The Two Mile House man can be reasonably happy with his performance. He made some wonderful fetches but on a couple of occasions, early on, stood off his man and allowed the number 14 to gain possession before attempting to dispossess him. Kelly though grew in confidence, kept the danger man to just two points from open play which is no mean feat over 70 minutes in anyone’s book. It was the Kelly’s brilliant block on Bradley that initially led to Alan Smith’s goal after a brilliant lightening fast move.

Emmet Bolton, one of the stars against Meath eight days ago, was forced on this occasion to play very deep having been handed the job of marshalling the dangerous Conleth Gilligan.

The Eadestown man did well overall but Kildare badly lacked his penetrating runs from the half back line that we have seen and admired so often but on this occasion his first port of call was to take care of his man which he duly did but it was without doubt to the detriment of Kildare’s forward push throughout the game.

Ollie Lyons who endured a tough 70 minutes was in a similar situation where his defensive duties held him back from making a few of those blistering forages.

This is not to criticise either player, far from it, but when these lads can find the way or the means to come forward there is no doubt that Kildare are a far more potent force.

There is always one thing you can expect when playing Derry and that is a strong midfield and Sunday was no exception.

Rarely has Kildare been so outplayed and out manoeuvred in the middle and win a game by all of five points than on Sunday last.

Both Daryl Flynn and Padraig O’Neill had their moments but like many of their team mates on the day dropped or misdirected attempted catches and passes that is not their usual form by any stretch of the imagination.

Up front Johnny Doyle showed just why is the class player that we all know he is. Very quiet by his standards in the opening half, he also misdirected a few passes but in the second half showed all his talents.

Hitting three wonderful points he capped it off with a cooly taken penalty to ensure Kildare’s revival after two opening defeats, remains on track.

Eoghan O’Flaherty had a great opening half when many around were floundering while James Kavnagh’s opening two points showed glimpses of his best form.

And what of Tomas O’Connor?

Starved of ball for long periods in the opening half, he came into his own as the game progressed with some delightful fetches and lay-offs and was heavily involved in both of the Kildare goals. The one time he decided to have a go himself was probably the one time he should have laid off but overall he gave his immediate opponent plenty to think about.

Hopefully as the games come thick and fast the zip that was evident against Meath will re-emerge. There is no doubt that that game (Meath) took a lot out of Kildare but to record a win over Derry is always to be welcomed and to do so when not firing on all cylinders is something that is very encouraging indeed.

Another big game this week in Drogheda, a venue that has not been kind to Kildare over the years. And following their hammering by Monaghan last weekend when they conceded 2-24 no doubt Peter Fitzpatrick will have his troops up and running in an attempt to get back on track.

This will be a real tough game and while there will be still two more to come after it, Drogheda could be the place that just might decide how the league of 2012 pans out for the Lilies

The re-appearance of Dermot Earley was not alone a mighty boost to Kildare but must have given the big man a tremendous feeling of satisfaction. What that man has endured to get himself back to this level is absolutely amazing, and the same can be said about Mikey Conway.

Great men, great players and hopefully they get their just rewards for all their dedication and sheer refusal to say enough is enough.