Tuesday 10 December 2019

Doyle eclipses Murphy as Kildare cruise

Kildare 1-17
Donegal 1-9
NFL Div 2

Daragh Conchir

Kildare left Donegal's 100pc record in tatters in Newbridge yesterday as they romped to a victory that puts them right in contention for promotion.

Apart from Kevin Cassidy, John Joe Doherty's visitors never got up to the pace of the game and more worryingly, never looked capable of even putting themselves in with a shout of winning. By contrast, Kildare had shining performances all over the field. Johnny Doyle slotted six points, four of which came from play, and was possibly the pick of them.

Dermot Earley, Ken Donnelly, Damien Hendy and Hugh McGrillen were others to stand out, and it was all a far cry from the first-round mauling by Down at this venue.

On that occasion, Kieran McGeeney wondered if he was speaking French to his players. Certainly, the instructions were heeded ahead of this one.

"We got them a translation book" joked the Kildare manager. "They're starting to understand some of it. But it can change fairly quickly. We've a tough game next week (against Armagh) but we're happy.

"We've four points and it's a tight division. There are five teams up there with a point between them and score difference might come into it at the end of the year. We put fellas under a fair bit of pressure this week to perform and they responded."

Donegal mis-fired badly, however, and their tactic of aiming the long ball into Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden paid little dividend.

Hendy was starting his first game in more than two years but the man McGeeney called "Mr Dependable" was outstanding on Murphy, with McGrillen, Emmet Bolton, Keith Cribbin and Mark Scanlon on hand regularly to mop up any breaking ball.

Murphy wasn't on his game, though, and one wonders if the rumoured presence of AFL agent Ricky Nixon had an effect, as he kicked some atrocious wides.

Donegal actually got off to a good start with a pointed free from Murphy inside the opening minute, but it was all downhill from there. By the time they got their next score, a fortunate goal from Stephen Griffen in the 24th minute, Kildare had a goal and five points on the board.

Kildare's goal came from wing-back Gary White, who finished left-footed to the corner after some delightful foot-passes from Doyle and Ennis.


And they responded well when Griffen's speculative lob went all the way to the net, Doyle kicking two points from play and O'Neill sending over with the outside of his right boot to give them a 1-8 to 1-2 half time lead.

Kildare carried on after the resumption. Earley produced the score of the game after good work from Hendy, Scanlon, O'Neill and James Kavanagh, and with Flynn and Donnelly also kicking points, the Lily-whites stretched their advantage to 10.

Tom Corley made up for his lapse for Griffen's goal with a splendid point-blank save from Cassidy but it was a rare opportunity for the visitors.

Murphy finished with a brace of late points, but there was very little consolation for Donegal.

Scorers -- Kildare: J Doyle 0-6 (0-2f), K Donnelly 0-3, G White 1-0, P O'Neill, K Ennis (0-2f) 0-2 each, D Earley, D Flynn, W Heffernan, H Lynch 0-1 each. Donegal: M Murphy 0-4 (0-3f); S Griffen 1-0, C McFadden 0-2(0-1f), L McLoone, A Hanlon, D Walsh 0-1 each

Kildare -- T Corley; E Bolton, D Hendy, H McGrillen; G White, M Scanlon, K Cribbin; D Flynn, D Earley; D Whyte, P O'Neill, J Doyle; K Ennis, J Kavanagh, K Donnelly. Subs: M Foley for Hendy, temp (50-51), W Heffernan for Ennis (58), R Sweeney for Whyte (59), H Lynch for Earley (62), K Brennan for Doyle (65), Foley for White (70+1).

Donegal -- M Boyle; J Keaney, N McGee, K Lacey; A Thompson, F McGlynn, K Cassidy; N Gallagher, B Monaghan; F McNulty, D Walsh, S Griffen; C McFadden, M Murphy, C Dunne. Subs: L McLoone for McNulty (25), O Waide for Keaney (47), A Hanlon for Walsh (55), B Dunnion for McGlynn (61).

REF -- M Collins (Cork)

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