A quick look at Kildare

Photo: Leinster Leader

Seeing as we’re now in game-every-weekend mode – assuming, that is, we stay up on the horse – there’s no time for leisurely run-ins to what’s up ahead. Semple Stadium and the trip to Tipp? History. Now it’s all about Round 3 and our meeting with Kildare this coming Saturday.

There’s still no clarity on the venue for this fixture. Kildare were first out of the pot so they’re entitled to host the game but the obvious issue is that St Conleth’s Park is a small venue – it can apparently fit no more than 12,000, with most of them standing on the three small terraces as well as a good proportion of the equally modest stand –  and a big crowd is likely to want to get to the game. We’ll know more on that, though, shortly.

Being drawn to play Kildare means that for the third time in this year’s qualifier odyssey we’ve been paired with teams we’ve encountered before in the back door. In this instance, we last met the Lilies in 2016, also in Round 3, on a glorious Saturday evening at MacHale Park. We fairly whipped them on that occasion, in an era when they would have had far more experience of going through the scenic route while we were still qualifier ingénues.

Kildare were a Division Two side two years ago but in 2017 they won promotion to the top tier, finishing second to Galway in the table (on five wins and two losses). They then lost out to Galway in the Divisional final.

They made the Leinster final as well last summer. Big wins over Laois and Meath got them to the decider but, of course, they got their asses handed to them by the Dubs in the final, a pre-ordained outcome that is now such an intrinsic part of Leinster GAA football culture. The natives love it, I’m told.

It’s always a tricky proposition being pitched into the qualifiers in Round 4. Kildare drew surprise packets Armagh in that round and it was a late surge from the Orchard County that secured them the win at Croke Park and ended Kildare’s involvement in the championship.

Division One proved tough for the Lilies this spring as well. Seven matches, seven defeats – including a seven-point loss to us at Newbridge in March – sent Cian O’Neill’s side spinning back down to the League’s second tier. Mind you, League form isn’t always relevant: just ask Donegal.

In Kildare’s case, though, poor spring form preceded early summer disaster. Carlow’s good win over Louth in the Leinster preliminary round should have served as fair warning to the Lilies but it was an alert that went unheeded. At O’Connor Park in Tullamore in late May the Barrowsiders recorded a famous provincial quarter-final victory over Kildare – their first championship victory over the Short Grass County since 1953 – and it was a fully-deserved win too, Carlow coming out on top in that one by 2-14 to 1-10.

In fairness to Saturday’s opponents, however, they’ve recovered their composure well since then and, more to the point, they’ve learned how to win again. And as we know so well, momentum in the qualifiers is hugely important.

In Kildare we’ll be meeting a team that also started out in Round 1 this summer and so, like us, they’re a team that’ll come into this tie with two wins under their belt. Also like us, these are victories chiselled out away from home but in their case against, arguably, trickier opposition.

Derry up in Owenbeg is no gimme in a Round 1 qualifier tie but Kildare came away from the Oak Leaf County with a 2-22 to 2-14 win. Having lost ten matches on the spin before that game (the linked report claims it was 12 but that’s incorrect, as the above narrative shows), the win they secured up North must have come as a huge morale-booster to the Lilies.

Longford in Pearse Park can be tricky too – as we ourselves still recall – but Kildare kept their nerve last Saturday to snatch victory by 1-16 to 1-13. Kildare never led in that Round 2 fixture until the 69th minute but they got the late scores they needed to wriggle clear at the finish.

So, that’s a quick bit of background on Kildare’s recent form. The bookies fancy us to come through this one but they’re not exactly putting their shirt on us either – we’re priced at 4/9 and the handicap is set at three points. Let’s, though, finish up with a poll to test the temperature: how do you reckon we’ll do in our next qualifier battle?

How will we do against Kildare?

  • Win (86%, 664 Votes)
  • Lose (14%, 110 Votes)

Total Voters: 774

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18 thoughts on “A quick look at Kildare

  1. Nice comprehensive preview of Kildare WJ. I have a question though in light of today’s debate about the venue etc.. how many season ticket holders do Dublin have?? As I understand it we have 3700, and have been fully sold out since 2013. Therefore, it’s fair to assume that 3700 is the Max any county can have. After all, None of our fans have been allowed to buy any more since 2013. However, I’ve heard a good few times on the grapevine that Dublin have 6000-7000 season ticket holders. Surely this is not true?? For example, It was used as an excuse by many as to why they couldn’t play Wicklow in Aughrim. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if the Gaa let Dublin buy more season tickets than anyone else!

  2. We might struggle in midfield but I think we will beat Kildare especially if the game is held in Croke Park. I think a run out in Croke Park would do us the world of good.

  3. Larry – yes Dublin do indeed have more season tickets than anyone else. They were given the extra tickets on the basis that the supporters with those tickets would have to sit in the Upper Cusack in Croke Park. However this causes an issue for away games at smaller grounds.

    Even taking their extra tickets into account it will be an obvious case of bias towards them if Mayo are sent to an insufficient sized ground in Newbridge when Dublin have games like this one relocated.

  4. Really think any ‘home’ advantage has swung to us now as we have played so many games in Croke Park in recent years. This is also a huge opportunity to give our younger players a taste of Croker match day ahead of (what will hopefully be) a couple of Super 8 games. Happy with the challenge, but don’t think I’ll make it next weekend… might have to be Sky Sports for me this time!

  5. A possible Three games in croker , three weeks on the trot , that will be themaking or breaking of this team we

  6. We’re certainly more than familiar with Croker so it won’t do us any harm. Set to be a warm day on Saturday so the 7pm throw-in is also welcome.

  7. I rated Cian O Neill highly as a coach especially with Mayo when I felt people like Mickey Conroy and Enda Varley were very accurate in 2012 with several Mayo players able to shoot well with outside of the boot too. However so far it hasn’t worked out with Kildare, same as when McGeeney was there. Against Carlow (who kicked no wides) Kildare were wasteful. They were inaccurate against us in the league too. So maybe O Neill is a better coach than a manager. However they do a a good midfield and FF. My take on FF is put Caff on Flynn. People blaming Caff for his goal in the league didn’t see his path to tackle blocked off by another Mayo player. I rekon Caff would do a decent job marking him though no doubt he’s a pretty good player.

  8. Agreed Shuffly. Caff took awful stick for that goal which was the only sniff Flynn had that day. He kept him scoreless besides, and Coen ran across Caff’s path and blocked him from making the tackle on Flynn for the goal. I was behind that goal at the time it happened, and could see it plain as day in front of me. It was there for all to see on the replays on Telly later too, but it’s easier to malign Caff I suppose.

  9. Just wondering about those cars racing away in the picture . Are those RN license plates ? If so , I wonder how many sheep should’ve been in this beautiful picture if it was taken five minutes earlier ? There’s a prize I’m sure for correct answers to the questions “ how many sheep are currently in the picture , and if it was taken five minutes earlier how many would’ve been then ?

  10. If Kildare botcott this game, they are right and we should back them! Rural Ireland has been blagarded by the Dublin infulenced HQ for long enough. Grass roots are what matters in the GAA and this might just be the straw that breaks their backs! GAA is not just about winning, it is who we are and part of what make this country a brilliant one. Money should never come before fairness and county pride.
    We suffered at the hands of this in the past and resented it.
    We should stand with them!

  11. I hear you Bulltoe on the principle of it all. But it’s a little more nuanced in this case . The GAA are quoting health and safety reasons and an expected attendance of 18,000. (6,000 from Kildare alone would mean no room for Mayo supporters at all) Not sure that’s what home advantage means?
    Now they certainly could have said season ticket holders only need show up but Kildare were also requested to suggest an alternative venue and they point blank refused . It’s not like they were trying to do themselves any favors because even their manager admits this “home venue “does them no favors . It’s just like they were trying to dog their heels in without a good rationale as to why Mayo supporters should not be accommodated .

  12. I do feel sad for Seamie as he was looking like a gazelle yesterday. It looked like both O Shea’s were going to be on song this season . It’s another setback we have to overcome . But I wish him the very best as does eveveryone on this site and hopes for a speedy recovery. Ya never know , he could be there yet for this years All Ireland Final . Hon Seamie !

  13. That is very relevant to the current situation in fairness @Swahili.
    Leinster really dont have very many big GAA stadiums in the Football heartlands. Might be a lot to do with Dublin not having to play outside the city for a very long period. The other county grounds may have suffered as a result. Meath have only a 15k ground which really suprised me. Wicklow, westmeath, louth, longford, the other football heartland grounds all small capacity.

  14. At any rate it’s not Mayo’s fight and we should stay out of it and accept the walkover if that’s what happens. The final reason is like Willie Joe said they are standing “ on principle now “ when they have conceded home advantage to Dublin on numerous occasions in the past . In other words their own “ principles “are flexible . In the event that GAA change their mind ( sounds like they won’t ) and make it all ticket for Newbridge then obviously we should honor that fixture .

  15. WJ, I think the run of 12 competitive defeats also includes the two losses in the O’Byrne Cup?

  16. That must be it, Digits – that thought did cross my mind but those matches shouldn’t really be included as, no more than the FBD, the O’Byrne Cup just a pre-season kick-about … though, mind you, it’s more competitive than the Leinster championship!

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