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Wilting Lilies a province poser

Kildare defeat continues poor qualifier trend for Leinster

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29 July 2017; Fionn Dowling, right, and Kevin Feely of Kildare following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4B match between Armagh and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

29 July 2017; Fionn Dowling, right, and Kevin Feely of Kildare following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4B match between Armagh and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

29 July 2017; Fionn Dowling, right, and Kevin Feely of Kildare following the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 4B match between Armagh and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Not more than two months ago, this column offered a positive spin on the apparent rejuvenation of football within Leinster.

There were glimpses of a renaissance within the province and perhaps a welcome return to the competitive fare that was a feature of the championship prior to Dublin assuming complete control of the Delaney Cup.

Both Meath and Kildare, teams that have traditionally challenged on the provincial circuit, were showing tangible signs of improvement after enjoying encouraging results in the championship.

These results, allied to impressive National Football League campaigns in Division 2, were seemingly further evidence of an upturn in fortunes for Dublin's supposed biggest rivals.

However, the statistics and the relative fortunes of both counties since then, offer a bleaker perspective with Kildare's defeat to Armagh on Saturday a disappointing continuation of a worrying trend for counties within the province, Dublin aside, of course.

Meath were beaten by Donegal in the qualifiers, albeit narrowly, but Donegal's subsequent hammering at the hands of Galway put a more sober perspective on their fortunes.

While Kildare enjoyed a fair degree of praise and goodwill after their Leinster final defeat to Dublin, this column felt that there was perhaps too much positivity emanating from within the county given they had just shipped a nine-point beating.

Moral victories are all well and good but when you consider that Dublin are perceived to be at their lowest ebb for a number of years, the Lilies were incapable of landing any significant blow on the champions.

Fast forward a fortnight and with a decent amount of expectation surrounding their chances against Armagh, Kildare were unable to deliver on their potential as they succumbed by three points.

Their defeat maintained a damning statistic that the beaten Leinster finalists have lost their subsequent qualifier for an eighth consecutive year.

Kildare will get their act together at some stage but for Leinster's sake, the quicker that arrives, the better.


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