Kilbride making up for lost time
Roscommon veteran Senan Kilbride (29) has admitted that the realisation that he has reached the final chapter of his inter-county career is pushing him to get the best out of himself – before it’s too late.
Despite all the under-age talent in the county at present it was the towering full-forward who won man of the match when the Rossies beat Down last Sunday to won successive league titles.
The bearded forward, who has won four Connacht titles and an All-Ireland club with St Brigid’s, conjured up scores from some remarkable angles in his four points from play in the Division 2 final.
“Older lads like myself and Seanie Mac (McDermott) and the lads, we can see the end of the tunnel and we’re thinking about eking out the most we can in the last couple of years,” Kilbride confessed.
“The team has a nice gathering of youth and experience and there’s a few lads who had their first starts in the league final and did really well. It’s a strong squad that’s getting stronger every year and just pushing on.
“John (Evans, manager) has brought in a lot of enthusiasm and a good team with him. Players are take it more professionally, doing more for the jersey, putting in more hours,” he said to explain the good run of form. “You (also) have the younger lads coming through who know what it takes to win, who have been winning all the way up through underage,” he added.
Winning four of the last six Connacht U-21 titles has created massive expectation in the county and winning league silverware and promotion twice in the last two years to bag a place in Division 1 has added to the hype.
But Kilbride stressed that both himself and the team are “far from the finished article.
“We won Division 2, are absolutely delighted with that, but we’re going to Division 1 next year and have a huge championship ahead of us. We have to up it even more if we want to make any sort of mark in Ireland,” he stressed.
“We have to take it one step at a time. We had a huge number of turnovers and mistakes in the first half (against Down). We know that if we don’t bring that intensity and fight from the second half to London, we’ll be kicked out. We’ll regret it.”
Next up for the Rossies is a Connacht Championship trip to London on May 24.
The Exiles’s HQ is about to get a massive €5m revamp but the work is not due to start until June so Ruislip is available to host it and London will postpone the renovations, if necessary, if they are in the first round of the Qualifiers (June 20) and get a home draw.
Roscommon will have Seanie McDermott back for that game after a one-match suspension kept him out of their league final. And there was more good news yesterday when it emerged that the injury that saw Brian Murtagh helped off in the late stages last Sunday is nothing more serious than a sprained ankle.