McGeeney refusing to get carried away despiteLilies' flying start
Published 11/02/2013 | 04:00
Late goals from Niall Kelly and Paddy Brophy proved decisive as Kildare beat Cork at Pairc Ui Rinn to make it two wins from their opening two games and condemn the Leesiders to a second successive defeat.
With Cork leading 1-9 to 0-9 after John O'Rourke's point in the 58th minute, it looked as if the Lilywhites would have to wait to claim a first league win over the Rebels since 1992, but goals from the youngsters – both minors last year – turned the tide in favour of Kieran McGeeney's side.
A major factor in the turnaround was the sending-off of Cork wing-back Damien Cahalane in the 40th minute, and McGeeney acknowledged that the numerical advantage was a help in terms of retaining the ball.
"It definitely gave us more space," he said. "I would have felt at the time that they were taking the limited chances they were having, while we were squandering in front of the goals.
"I always felt we had our chances, there was never going to be more than one or two points in it but I suppose it was great to get the space."
Cork, still winless as this followed the defeat to Dublin in their opening game, suffered after the loss of Cahalane, with the attack finding it difficult to make an impression, but Conor Counihan's side should have built up more of a lead than the 1-5 to 0-6 advantage they held at half-time.
Ciaran Sheehan had the got the goal in the 19th minute during a purple patch in which Donncha O'Connor and Colm O'Neill also pointed, but O'Connor should have raised another green flag straight after that, fumbling when put in by O'Neill.
For all the possession, though, Kildare's blanket defence frustrated Cork, and two Mikey Conway scores, as well as one from Padraig O'Neill, kept them in touch on the turnaround, even if Cathal McNally really should have found the net in the 33rd minute.
Aidan Walsh and Daniel Flynn exchanged points upon the restart before Cahalane's red card, after a linesman had alerted referee Rory Hickey to what he felt was a stamp on Kelly, a half-time sub.
Tomas O'Connor, also introduced at the interval, almost struck for a Kildare goal not long after that when a ball broke in the Cork goalmouth, but the Clane powerhouse was crowded out and couldn't get his shot away.
Conway continued to fire points from distance, however, and though the points from O'Connor and O'Rourke helped to push Cork 1-9 to 0-9 clear, they would not score again.
O'Neill's second point cut the gap to two, and then O'Connor won the loose ball when Brophy's attempt for a point took a deflection – shaking off two challenges before finding Kelly, who made no mistake.
That gave the Lilywhites the lead for the first time since the 18th minute, and then, with Cork in search of something to get them back in the game, O'Neill took advantage of the space to feed Brophy, who had a relatively easy task to finish.
Despite the good start, McGeeney doesn't want to get too far ahead of himself.
"It's great to be where we are, don't get me wrong, but I still think we have a lot of work to do in terms of where we need to go to," he said.
"But four points after two games, if you had of asked me at the beginning I would have taken the hand and all off you so I'm happy with that, but I wouldn't be getting carried away."
Man of the Match: P O'Neill (Kildare)
Scorers – Kildare: M Conway 0-4 (2f), N Kelly, P Brophy 1-0 each, S Johnston, P O'Neill 0-2 each, D Flynn, J Doyle (f) 0-1 each. Cork: C O'Neill 0-3 (2f), C Sheehan 1-0, D O'Connor (2f), P Kerrigan 0-2 each, A Walsh, J O'Rourke 0-1 each.
KILDARE – S Connolly 7; H McGrillen 7, M Foley 6, P Kelly 7; M Conway 8, O Lyons 6, E Bolton 7; G White 7, P O'Neill 8; D Flynn 7, C McNally 6, B Flanagan 7; E O'Flaherty 6, S Johnston 7, J Doyle 7. Subs: N Kelly 7 for McNally, T O'Connor 8 for O'Flaherty (both h-t), E Doyle 6 for Lyons (50), M O'Flaherty 6 for Flanagan (54), P Brophy 7 for Johnston (58).
CORK – K O'Halloran 7; E Cadogan 7, E O'Mahony 6, M Shields 6; D Cahalane 6, T Clancy (Clonakilty) 6, J O'Sullivan 6; G Canty 8, A Walsh 7; F Goold 7, J O'Rourke 6, C Sheehan 7; C O'Neill 7, D O'Connor 6, P Kerrigan 7. Subs: A O'Connor 6 for T Clancy (Clonakilty, h-t), T Clancy (Fermoy) 6 for Sheehan (54), P O'Neill 6 for Goold (61), P Kissane 6 for Walsh (62).
Ref – R Hickey (Clare).