Kildare have made two changes to their side for tonight’s Leinster under-21 football semi-final against Laois.
Former Aussie Rules wannabe Paul Cribbin replaces Barry Egan in defence while Sean Hurley, who was an early substitute against Meath, starts instead of Daniel Grehan in midfield. Once more the Kildare attack will be spearheaded by senior stars Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn and Paddy Brophy.
Kildare will be looking to book their place in their first under-21 Leinster final since 2008.
Laois stand in their way and even though the O’Moore county had a 15-point victory over Wicklow in the quarter-final they will undoubtedly start this last four tie as underdogs. Much of the confidence surrounding the Kildare side is based on the performances of a number of players for the senior team. Six players who will be involved against Laois finished the senior team’s league game against Mayo at the weekend and all showcased their potential.
Niall Kelly and Daniel Flynn showed that playing senior football had helped their game in Kildare’s quarter-final win over Meath and manager Kieran McGeeney believes playing at higher level can help his players.
“Those fellas are keen. They were told after the Mayo game that they have four days to focus on Laois,” he said.
The Armagh man goes against the grain and considers Laois to be the favourites for the game. Their full-forward line contributed 4-5 in their victory over Wicklow with 17-year-old Evan O’Carroll grabbing a hat-trick of goals. McGeeney knows his team will have to be have to be on their toes to keep them at bay.
“Laois will probably consider themselves strong favourites for the game, they’ve got two games under their belt. A lot of teams will feel that with Dublin gone they are capable of doing it but all we are looking at is Laois at the moment. We’ve a tough game on Wednesday night, very tough. This full-forward line of Laois looks unstoppable so we’re just going to have to see what we can do,” he said.
Kildare had a slight injury worry coming out of their quarter-final with centre-back Fergal Conway picking up a knock but McGeeney will have a full complement of players to choose from for the game.
“He (Conway) had a sore knee but he seems fine,” he said.
The full-forward line of Paddy Brophy, Fionn Dowling and Padraig Fogarty has plenty of scoring potential and they are backed up by Flynn, Kelly and Liam McGovern in the half-forward line. Goalkeeper Mark Donnellan and defender David Hyland are fresh from making their senior debuts at the weekend.
Throw in for the game is 7.30pm with the winners facing either Longford or Wexford in the Leinster final.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Michael Konstantin, David Hyland, Sean Higgins; Paul Cribbin, Fergal Conway, Jonathan Byrne; Thomas Moolick, Seán Hurley; Liam McGovern, Niall Kelly, Daniel Flynn; Paddy Brophy, Fionn Dowling, Pádraig Fogarty