Tuesday 30 May 2017

Herbert backs Lilies to make points count in showdown with Donegal

Colin O'Hanlon

Four-time Kick Fada champion Mark Herbert has backed Kildare to put an end to their All-Ireland hoodoo this September and clinch their first Sam Maguire in 83 years.

The Kildare 'keeper, whose 73-metre kick in 2001 remains the longest point ever kicked in the annual competition, believes that the players who take to the field on Saturday for the quarter-final clash against Ulster champions Donegal are the best equipped side the Lilywhites have produced in recent times.

"This group of players want to win an All-Ireland, that's what they're after. They've been quite close for the last two years, getting to the semi-finals. I suppose the final would be an improvement, but to win it outright is what they want.

"We're almost at 100 years (since Kildare last won an All-Ireland), and I think this group of players are the best prepared that we have had in some time. So, hopefully, we'll win."

The Lilywhites' potency in front of goal has been questioned lately, but the man who holds the Guinness world record for that 73-metre kick believes that the forwards are hitting form at the right time ahead of the weekend showdown at Croke Park.

"The first day out they didn't score many points and kicked 20 wides, but the guys are encouraged to shoot -- once they have a chance they should take a pop.

"In the last game we scored 19 points against Derry, who are a big, strong team. If they can repeat that at the weekend, I think they can win."

Herbert was speaking at the launch of the MBNA Kick Fada competition at Croke Park. The competition takes place on September 10 at the Bray Emmets club in Wicklow, with many top footballers expected to compete.

Irish Independent

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