By Pat Costello
Kildare almost squandered what seemed like an unassailable 10-point 53rd minute lead before they finally overcoming Cavan by four points 1-21 to 0-20 in Division 2 of the Allianz Football League at St Conleth’s Park.
Kildare’s goal came from substitute, Fergal Conway, only moments on the pitch, when he finished off a move started out the middle by Paddy Brophy and involving Paul Cribben, Jimmy Hyland, Ben McCormack in the 50th minute.
Indeed, Kildare could have had three more chances of goals immediately after that but Kevin Flynn and Jimmy Hyland opted for points instead.
The Lilywhites had then to withstand a tremendous Cavan comeback with some indiscipline leading to scoring opportunities for Chris Conroy and Gearoid McKiernan which eventually reduced the deficit to three points at the end of normal time. Kildare had to play the final five minutes of normal time and the injury time without Kevin Flynn who received a black card. Indeed, the home team could have been punished further when they fluffed a clearance and Conroy put Niall Murray through but the substitute couldn’t control the ball.
Jimmy Hyland, with his ninth point of the game, scored the insurance point deep in injury time.
Kildare went in four points up at half time, 0-13 to 0-9, thanks to six points from a very lively Jimmy Hyland and a great save from Mark Donnellan from a Martin Reilly penalty five minutes before the break.
Kildare’s full forward line were very impressive in the have with, as well as Hyland’s six, debutant, Darragh Kirwan, and Ben McCormack chipped in with two apiece. Kirwan went on to add another two points in the second half in an impressive showing.
Kildare had difficulties containing Cavan’s Gearoid McKiernan in the first half who, although listed to play at midfield, instead drifted around the field and contributed 0-3 himself as well as setting up a few more Breffni scores in the half.
Kildare now move on to six points on the League table as they face Westmeath in Newbridge on Saturday next.
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Shea Ryan, Mick O’Grady, Eoin Doyle; David Hyland (Capt), Con Kavanagh, Kevin Flynn 0-3; Kevin Feely 0-1, Aaron Masterson; Paul Cribben 0-1, Paddy Brophy, Liam Power 0-1; Ben McCormack 0-2, Darragh Kirwan 0-4, Jimmy Hyland 0-9 (1m, 5f). Subs: Fergal Conway 1-0, for Power 46, Neil Flynn for Paul Cribben 58, Keith Cribben for Kavanagh 60, Eanna O’Connor for Brophy 62, Tommy Moolick for Kirwan 68.
CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Jason McLoughlin, Killian Brady, Cormac O’Reilly 0-2; Gerard Smith, Chris Conroy 0-8 (7f), Ciaran Brady; Gearoid McKiernan 0-5 (3f), Padraig Faulkner; Oisin Kiernan 0-1, Martin Reilly, Oisin Brady; Conor Smith 0-2, Cormac Timoney, Evan Doughty. Subs: Conor Madden for Doughty 44, Luke Fortune for Oisin Brady 45, Caoimhan McGovern 0-2 for Reilly 53, Bryan Magee for Smith 58, Niall Murray for O’Reilly 71.
REFEREE: Cormac Reilly (Meath)