AND so the McGeeney band wagon marches on following Kildare’s com-prehensive win over Derry (for the second year in a row) at Croke Park on Satuday in Round four of the qualifiers, a win that sees the Lilies reach the All Ireland quarter finals for the fourth year in a row.
Kildare came into this game as roaring hot favourites by the layers, and in fairness clinched their last eight spot with a clinical, no frills display that had Ulster’s beaten finalists of just six days, chasing the game for a long time before the final whistle.
It was probably not Kildare’s best display of the season but nevertheless there will be few complaints all things considered.
Derry, to be fair, opened brightly and had the Kildare defence under a lot of early pressure. They (Derry) got on top in midfield and their running game at the heart of the Kildare defence had the Lilies on the back foot.
The opening score of the game arrived after just 30 seconds when Declan Mullan, who looked very dangerous at times, split the posts. Kildare replied with Mick Foley bringing the ball out of defence, off-loaded to Hugh McGrillen who found Tomas O’Connor. The big full forward showed he is much more than just a target man, turning his man before firing over to level up.
Back came Derry with points from Sean Leo McGoldrick who, although wearing number two lined out on his side’s half forward line.
Slowly but surely Kildare worked their way into the game. Eamonn Callaghan was fouled, Johnny Doyle made no mistake from the placed ball and minutes later the sides were level when Rob Kelly got a confidence boosting point.
Derry were using the ‘Route One’ method, firing high balls into their two man full forward line and it was causing early problems.
Enda Muldoon had the Derry boys back in front after 14 but Rob Kelly, set up by Tomas O’Connor, had them all square within a minute. A Johnny Doyle free had the Lilies back in front before Derry had a goal rightly disallowed after Enda Muldoon was cited for ‘camping’ in the square.
That did not deter Derry however and a James Kielt free levelled them up and soon after the boys in red and white gave warning they were not in Croker just to make up the numbers when a Conleth Gilligan free had them back in front.
Tomas O’Connor who gave his marker a torrid time throughout was fouled and up stepped the Kildare team captain to level up again as Ollie Lyons entered the fray in place of the out-of-sorts Gary White.
In a ding dong battle Kildare edged their noses in front when corner back Hugh McGrillen got forward and once again added his name to the scoring chart.
Derry were still causing problems around the middle and Kieran McGeeney switched Rob Kelly and Johnny Doyle, a move that was to prove decisive.
Declan Mullan left nothing between them with a fine point on 29 minutes but suddenly Kildare upped their game and came swarming forward in numbers.
James Kavanagh cut in from the Cusack Stand side, left his marker grasping at nothing, goal on, two men inside but the Ballymore decided to go alone and blasted just over. A quick pass inside might have resulted in a goal but Tomas O’Connor looked to be ‘inside’ so Kavanagh probably took the right option.
A great run by Eamonn Callaghan was ended with a foul and Johnny Doyle stretched the lead to two. Derry replied with a fine Joe Diver effort but Kildare kicked on with an Eamonn Callaghan point who then set up Jimmers for another to leave the half time score reading Kildare 0-11 Derry 0-8.
Eoghan O’Flaherty, playing very deep and working like a demon punched over on the resumption; Conleth Gilligan replied with a free. However, James Kavanagh was fouled after a sweeping move and Doyle made no mistake.
Derry hit back with another point but Kildare were now playing well within themselves and stretched that lead to five with a brilliant Kavanagh effort and another from O’Connor to leave it 0-15 to 0-10 midway through.
Some off-the-ball stuff was going undetected by the match official, with Johnny Doyle coming in for some very very late ‘tackling.’
Derry reduced the deficit through a Barry McGoldrick point and soon after Eamonn Callaghan was ‘taken out’ when bursting forward. Dermot McBride, already on a yellow, was very lucky not to have been sent for an early shower. Johnny Doyle duly converted the resultant free with ten to go.
A Gilligan point left four separating the sides but any hope Derry had was to evaporate when James Kavanagh and a brilliant Padraig O’Neill effort stretched the lead to six. Gilligan ended his side’s scoring with a converted free but it was Kildare who had the last say when substitute Ronan Sweeney, after making a brilliant catch, got forward to knock over a left footed effort to leave the final score reading Kildare 0-19 Derry 0-13.
A fine display from Kildare whose half forward line of O’Neill, O’Flaherty and Callaghan excelled throughout. Tomas O’Connor and James Kavanagh caused a lot of problems while the defence, after a somewhat shaky start, got to grips and were well in control by the end.
Kildare - Johnny Doyle 0-6 (6f), James Kavanagh 0-4, Rob Kelly 0-2, Tomas O’Connor 0-2, Eamonn Callaghan 0-1, Padraig O’Neill 0-1, Hugh McGrillen 0-1, Eogan O’Flaherty 0-1, Ronan Sweeney 0-1.
Derry - Conleth Gilligan 0-4 (3f), Declan Mullan 0-3, Enda Muldoon 0-1, Barry McGoldrick 0-1, James Kielt 0-1 (1f), Gerard O’Kane 0-1, Joe Diver 0-1, Sean Leo McGoldrick 0-1.
Shane Connolly; Andrew McLoughlin, Michael Foley, Hugh McGrillen; Gary White, Morgan O’Flaherty, Emmet Bolton; Johnny Doyle, Daryl Flynn; Padraig O’Neill, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Eamonn Callaghan; Rob Kelly, Tomas O’Connor, James Kelly. Subs: Ollie Lyons for Gary White (24 minute); Ronan Sweeney for Daryl Flynn (64 minute); Damien Hendy for Hugh McGrillen (70 minute); Fionn Dowling for Eoghan O’Flaherty (70 minute),
Danny Devlin; Sean Leo McGoldrick, Kevin McGuckin, Dermot McBride; Gerard O’Kane, Charlie Kielt, Kevin McCloy; Joe Diver, Michael Friel; Mark Lynch, Declan Mullan, Barry McGoldrick captain; Enda Muldoon, James Kielt, Conleth Gilligan. Subs: PJ McCloskey for Michael Friel (41 minute); Michael Bateson for James Kielt; Martin Donaghy for Mark Lynch (468 minute); Niall Holly for PJ McCloskey; Caolan O’Boyle for Charlie Kielt (64 minute).
Syl Doyle, Wexford.