Lilywhites end 20-year wait for victory over Rebels
KILDARE ended a 20 year wait for victory over 14-man Cork with 2-10 to 1-9 victory over the reigning Division One champions at Pairc Ui Rinn.
The major turning points in the game were the introduction of Niall Kelly for Kildare and the moment of madness that saw Damien Cahalane stamp on Kelly and receive his marching orders.
The result means that Kildare have beaten the All-Ireland champions and league champions in successive weeks but man-of-the match Padraig O’Neill stressed that Kildare are already turning their attentions to Kerry in Newbridge in three weeks time.
“We’ve Kerry in three weeks time and hopefully we can get a win there. It’s at home in Newbridge. They’re a fair side but these are the games we want,” he said.
“Cork were All-Ireland champions a couple of years ago, we are up in Division One now so every game is like a championship game.
“We’re happy to have four points at this time of the year. Cork had a lot of possession but defensively we were strong and we got to grips with it.”
Cork dominated the early exchanges possession but two quick-fire points from Seanie Johnston saw Kildare lead 0-3 Cork 0-1.
Donncha O'Connor and Ciaran Sheahan levelled matters before Sheahan, who scored for Cork IT in midweek, blasted low to the net.
Kildare responded through John Doyle and Padraig O’Neill but Paul Kerrigan had the last say of the half to give Cork a 1-5 to 0-6 half-time advantage.
Cork began the second period brightly when Aidan Walsh scored from distance but Daniel Flynn cancelled that effort out almost immediately.
Then came the major talking point of the game as Damien Cahalane saw red for a needless stamp on substitute Niall Kelly.
Donncha O’Connor traded scores with Mikey Conway before John O’Rourke put the Rebels three points to the good but they would not score again.
Padriag O’Neill began the comeback with his second point before Tomas O’Connor showed strength to put Niall Kelly through and the Athy man finished expertly.
Brilliant build-up play by O’Connor and O’Neill set-up Paddy Brophy for Kildare’s second goal that sealed a priceless win for the Lilywhites.