BACK in 2011 Tomás O’Connor had a goal wrongly disallowed for a square ball in the All Ireland quarter final. That game was also in Croke Park and Donegal were also the opposition. Of course the stakes were much higher back then but nonetheless O’Connor was happy to hit the back of the net last Saturday evening. He was happy to see it stand and indeed happy to come away from headquarters with victory over the All Ireland champions, writes Ruth Chambers.
“It’s great to start off with two points. It’s early days yet so we’d want to get a few more wins under our belts though,” O’Connor told the Leinster Leader this week.
The big Clane man is well accustomed to close attention from defenders. Last weekend he had four men around him at times when the ball came in but did very well to get under Mikey Conway’s free for the goal. The previous week O’Connor was the scorer in chief late in the day as Kildare claimed the O’Byrne Cup in Parnell Park and he is keen to keep the scoring side of his game up.
“I’m just trying to get the ball out and get my own scores. I just deal with each match as it comes. Scoring more is something I have to bring to my game so I’m going to have to take my opportunities when they come and give it off to the lads if that’s the better option too.
“It happened in a much less important game but it was nice to get the goal. When balls come off the post that’s what I’m there for. I’m there to react to those balls,” he admitted.
O’Connor wasn’t Kildare’s only attacker to impress at Croke Park last weekend. Young guns Paddy Brophy when introduced and starters Daniel Flynn and in particular Niall Kelly from Athy starred and O’Connor is thrilled to have even more competition for places in the panel.
“The two boys (Flynn and Niall Kelly) were brilliant and even Paddy Brophy coming in was excellent. It’s great to see lads like that coming in and blending straight in to the panel. They are a breath of fresh air and they are really pushing the rest of us on in training and pushing us hard for places,” he remarked.
Thus far 2013 has been a promising one for the Lilies but winning the O’Byrne Cup and beating the All Ireland champions in the first round of the league is nothing to get too excited about, insists O’Connor. Kildare will be judged on their summer performances. Make no mistake about that.
“It’s great to win but you have to remember we beat a Dublin side who are were only trying lads out and a Donegal team that are just back so we won’t be getting carried away. In saying that it’s nice to keep winning no matter what the circumstances are,” said the Clane man.
Victory in Pairc Uí Rinn in Cork would make a good start to the year even better for O’Connor this Saturday night.