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Rainbow turns back the clock

THE evergreen Anthony Rainbow will start his first league or championship game since 2008 when Kildare launch their Allianz Football League campaign at home to Down on Sunday.

The 38-year-old defender didn't start a single competitive outing last year, with a shoulder injury derailing his hopes of league involvement, after which he was confined to a few cameo appearances during Kildare's six-game summer odyssey.

But Rainbow has stormed back into the early-season reckoning and now retains his wing-back place from the team that lost last Sunday's O'Byrne Cup semi-final against Louth.


Having watched his team overhauled in the home straight by Louth, manager Kieran McGeeney has made two changes in personnel for the Division Two opener in Newbridge (2.30).

All-Star nominee James Kavanagh and Ronan Sweeney are both retained in the full-forward line, having come off the bench five days ago. The players losing out are Keith Cribbin and Ronan Walsh.

There is also one notable positional alteration, with Mick Foley now named at full-back and Gary White at right half-back, the pair having switched to these positions during the first half against Louth.

The Kildare squad last night trained in Ballykelly where they were introduced to new assistant manager Aidan O'Rourke, who has agreed to hook up with his former Armagh colleague McGeeney.

It maintains the strong Orchard county connection with the Lilywhites - O'Rourke only ended his inter-county career last year and now replaces fellow Armagh man Paul Grimley, who was Geezer's right-hand man for two seasons before heading back north to Monaghan.

O'Rourke, who starred in the half-back line alongside McGeeney when Armagh achieved All-Ireland history in 2002, has managed Queens University for the past two seasons and he has also coached his local club side, Dromintee.

KILDARE (SF v Down): S McCormack; A Mac Lochlainn, M Foley, E Bolton; G White, B Flanagan, A Rainbow; D Flynn, D Earley; D Whyte, P O'Neill, R Kelly; K Ennis, R Sweeney, J Kavanagh.