Leinster SFC: Kildare win replay
Leinster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final replay
KILDARE 1-18 LONGFORD 0-10
By Kevin Egan at Bord na Móna O’Connor Park
Kildare cruised to a convincing victory over Longford to set up a Leinster SFC Semi-Final meeting against Dublin.
A number of early wides and unforced errors contrasted sharply with the crisp, clinical performances of these two sides in the drawn encounter, and a cloud of tension and nervousness seemed to descend over the venue the longer the game went on without either side breaking the deadlock.
There certainly were plenty of chances for scores, with Jimmy Hyland guilty of fumbling a goal chance and pushing another scorable free wide of the target while at the other end, Barry McKeon looked like he was about to burst through on goal and rattle the net only to be denied by a late tackle that he felt was an illegal push.
However with a fresh breeze favouring Longford, Kildare could afford to let the clock tick away without any scores, but Padraic Davis’ men didn’t have the same luxury. They needed to give themselves something to defend after half time, but instead it was the 18th minute before they were able to raise a flag. David McGivney’s free was the first score for either team but any sense of relief for Longford was short-lived as Fergal Conway drove at the Kildare goal with the next play, powered past two defenders and blasted a thunderbolt of a shot off the crossbar and into the net from 15 metres.
Longford added two of the next three points to get back within one, 1-1 to 0-3, but by half time it was 1-4 to 0-4 and they had a mountain to climb, with the wind in their faces and none of their forwards making any impression on the game.
Joseph Hagan came off the bench to kick a magnificent point from the left sideline in the first half but otherwise the Kildare backs were completely dominant against their direct opponents, with Michael Quinn’s two late frees the only scores by any of the starting six Longford forwards over the course of the game.
For Kildare, the jump in class from this game to taking on the All-Ireland champions in Croke Park next week will be monumental, though they will take encouragement from their dominant second half performance.
Their back line continued to marshal their direct opponents well, Tommy Moolick dropped in to operate as a third midfielder and put in a superb shift, winning a series of kickouts and kicking three points from play, while up front Ben McCormack was at the heart of a lot of good attacking play, bringing others around him into the game and adding a couple of fine scores himself.
1-4 to 0-4 at half time became 1-18 to 0-8 going into injury time, before Quinn’s late frees brought Longford’s tally to double scores. It was a far cry from the 3-15 they scored a week ago, and they now have just seven days to pick themselves up for a trip to Carlow in the qualifiers. For Kildare, it’s just Dublin in Croke Park.
Scorers for Kildare: Neil Flynn 0-5 (4fs), Fergal Conway 1-1, Adam Tyrrell (2fs) and Tommy Moolick 0-3 each, Ben McCormack 0-2, Paddy Brophy, David Slattery, Niall Kelly and Keith Cribbin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Longford: David McGivney 0-5 (4fs), Michael Quinn 0-2 (2fs), Joseph Hagan, Andrew Farrell, and Darren Quinn 0-1 each.
KILDARE: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O’Grady, Peter Kelly; David Hyland, Eoin Doyle, Keith Cribbin; Kevin Feely, Fergal Conway; David Slattery, Ben McCormack, Tommy Moolick; Adam Tyrrell, Paddy Brophy, Jimmy Hyland.
Subs: Neil Flynn for J Hyland (22), Niall Kelly for Feely (56), Cathal McNally for McCormack (59), Eoghan O’Flaherty for Brophy (62), Chris Healy for Slattery (64), Kevin O’Callaghan for Tyrrell (67).
LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Patrick Fox, Donal McElligott, Barry O’Farrell; Colm P Smyth, Pádraig McCormack, Darren Quinn; John Keegan, David McGivney; Gary Rogers, Barry McKeon, Michael Quinn; Daniel Mimnagh, James McGivney, Darragh Doherty.
Subs: Andrew Farrell for McKeon (22), Joseph Hagan for Doherty (31), Aidan McElligott for Rogers (51), Mark Hughes for Keegan (57).
REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).