Down ace O'Hare tips Kildare to recover from defeat
Down forward Donal O'Hare slammed home the final nail in Kildare's coffin on Sunday but warned: "Don't write off them off".
O'Hare's hammer-blow goal in injury-time clinched a 3-13 to 1-15 away win at Newbridge.
The Mourne men wrecked Kildare's hopes of a fast start to their Division 2 challenge by scoring 2-1 in just a minute.
Instead of holding on to a hard-earned three-point lead, Jason Ryan's team walked off the pitch on the wrong end of a four-point defeat - and it all happened so suddenly.
O'Hare was one of Down's aces on a day when the football was fast, hard, and featured some fine scores at both ends.
The Burren club player scored 1-6 of his team's total, four from frees, and justifiably had a broad smile as he reflected on the shock result.
"Like any Gaelic matches you have your purple patches. Kildare had plenty, but we kept ours for the first 15 minutes and the last five minutes. It was great to get the result down here because it's always tough down here," said the 23-year-old.
"Tyrone scored a last-minute goal to beat them last year, and now we've done the same. I'm sure Kildare will be kicking themselves about it, but they are a good outfit.
"I'm sure it's not the last we're going to hear from them in this campaign."
Down's late rally maintained a winning record in league matches between the counties at St Conleth's Park - the previous matches between them in Newbridge resulted in wins in 2006 and 2010.
O'Hare only came on the Down scene in 2012 when he was drafted in to the squad for the championship match against Fermanagh by the then manager James McCartan.
"I made my debut at 19. My first game was in championship against Fermanagh," he recalled.
"That year, I missed the McKenna Cup and played U-21s and came back in at the end of the league, so this is my fourth year now. This is a big change for me because for the past three years I was with James. Credit to James, he had a big effect on me, giving me my debut. It's all I wanted to do, was play for Down."
The arrival of new boss Jim McCorry has generated a positive response from the Down squad, and the spirits are high for the visit of Roscommon to Newry on Saturday.
"Coming in this year, everyone knew they had to up their game for Jim and see what he wanted from us," said O'Hare. "Hopefully we'll get another two points next week against Roscommon at home. "
Kildare manager Jason Ryan highlighted the importance of Saturday's game away to Meath after the Down result, but also knows there's not too much to be tweaked based on that performance.
He felt the display "was good enough to win." It was - almost.
Meanwhile, Kildare champions Moorefield have named former captain Kenny Duane as their new manager. Duane, who skippered the club to Leinster title in 2006, replaces Luke Dempsey in the hotseat and ends speculation linking former Kerry manager Jack O'Connor with the post. The Newbridge club are out to win a third successive county title in 2015.