KILDARE 0-15 WICKLOW 1-10
ANY Kildare supporters hoping for an improvement from their team after an inconsistent Division 2 league campaign were left sorely frustrated on Saturday evening as their Championship began with a whimper against Wicklow in Carlow.
In a game that was eerily similar to many that Kildare played through this year’s league, the team took their foot off the pedal in the second half and ended up in a position where the game was in the balance right until the last ball – despite leading by seven points with 15 minutes to go.
It needs to be drummed into this team that matches are 70 minutes long because time and again they seem to get to 50 minutes or so and decide that they have done enough to win the game. That sort of attitude almost cost them against Clare in Newbridge this year, almost cost them against a poor Tipperary side and almost cost them against an even worse Wicklow team on Saturday evening.
Fully focused and on their game, this is a good group of players and Kildare played quite well through the first half to lead 0-9 to 0-4, albeit some of the seven wides they kicked were quite poor.
Kildare then sleepwalked through the second half and unforced errors started to creep into their game. That gave Wicklow some encouragement and after Dean Healy waltzed through the defence on the hour mark to set up Darren Hayden for the game’s only goal, panic set in and the mistakes got worse.
It’s a pattern that we have seen time and again and a team that carried even a small bit more quality than Wicklow would have punished Kildare more severely. Put simply, if Kildare repeat this performance against Longford on 26 May then their Leinster campaign will end that day. There needs to be a huge improvement from this display but given that there wasn’t a marked improvement on what was produced during the league there will be little confidence that they will be able to do so.
Much more analysis and reaction on this game will feature in this week’s Kildare Nationalist.
Scorers – Kildare: A Tyrrell 0-5 (4fs), E O’Flaherty 0-4 (2fs, 1’45), B McCormack 0-2, P Brophy 0-1, D Hyland 0-1, F Conway 0-1, N Flynn 0-1f
Wicklow: D Hayden 1-0, M Kenny 0-2, P O’Connor 0-2, C McGraynor 0-1f, T Smith 0-1, P O’Toole 0-1, D Healy 0-1, M Jackson 0-1f, D Keane 0-1.
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, David Hyland, Mark Hyland, Peter Kelly, Eoin Doyle, Keith Cribbin; Kevin Feely, Fergal Conway; David Slattery, Ben McCormack, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Adam Tyrrell, Paddy Brophy, Jimmy Hyland. Subs: Cian O’Donoghue for Cribbin, 48; Neil Flynn for O’Flaherty, 48; Conor Hartley for McCormack, 56; Tommy Moolick for Slattery, 60; Jason Gibbons for Tyrrell, 68.
WICKLOW: Mark Jackson; Eoin Murtagh, Ross O’Brien, Jamie Snell, David Devereux, Shane Mooney, Daragh Fitzgerald; Dean Healy, Padraig O’Toole; Darren Hayden, Anthony McLoughlin, Theo Smith, Mark Kenny, Conor McGraynor, Patrick O’Connor Subs: Cathal McGee for McLoughlin, h/t; Chris O’Brien for McGraynor, 44; Oisin Manning for Mooney, 47; Daniel Keane for Hayden, 68; Saoirse Kieron for O’Toole, 70+1.
REFEREE: Noel Mooney.