Sport Gaelic Football

Thursday 14 December 2017

Hanafin heroics give Ryan food for thought


Kildare manager Jason Ryan
Kildare manager Jason Ryan

Jason Ryan rang the changes after Kildare had cruised to victories over Athlone IT and Longford, and his new-look side completed a 100pc return from the group stages to secure a place in the semi-final.

Former underage star Seamus Hanafin made the most of his opportunity with 1-2, while Rob Kelly -- who is also a member of the squad's strength and conditioning department -- offered a reminder of his on-field capabilities with four points from play.

Lilywhite legend Anthony Rainbow will have been pleased with his side's efforts on his return to St Conleth's Park as Carlow manager, however.

Making the most of a strong wind, they led by three points early on and though pegged back to parity at the interval on 0-5 each, were back in front at the three-quarter mark thanks to three excellent frees by Paul Broderick.

They didn't score again, though, while Hanafin's 56th-minute goal was the highlight of a run of 1-4 that put the tie to bed.

"It's brilliant to win," said Ryan. "They just ground out a win. We had 13 changes from last Sunday and from the game on Wednesday night (against Longford), 15 changes so it was bloody brilliant. We're so delighted.

"It would have been so easy for us to put out the same team that played the last two games... Instead of that we put out a very inexperienced team, a team of players who are trying to get into the panel, to see what they could actually do. It's about giving fellas chances. If you don't give them chances now, when are you going to?"

After a well-contested affair that produced no black card, the champions will face UCD in the semi-final in Newbridge next Sunday.

SCORERS -- Kildare: S Hanafin 1-2, R Kelly 0-4fs, M Conway 0-2fs, S Hurley, E Bolton, C Mellett 0-1 each. Carlow: P Broderick (3fs), S Kinsella (1f) 0-3 each, D Foley, G Power 0-1 each.

KILDARE -- M Donnellan; M Konstantin, S Campbell, C Fitzpatrick; E Bolton, O Lyons, W Groome; S Hurley, H Lynch; C Canning, R Dunne, A Tyrrell; M Conway, R Kelly, S Hanafin. Subs: P Kelly for Lyons (17), C Mellett for Tyrrell (49), C Murphy for Conway (62), B Noone for Dunne (64), E Naughton for Konstantin (65), D O'Brien for Groome (70).

CARLOW -- A O'Brien; B J Molloy, M Curry, J O'Donoghue; K Nolan, B Kavanagh, G Power; H Gahan, D Foley; P Reid, D St Leger, D Bambrick; P Broderick, S McGrath, S Kinsella. Subs: W Minchin for Reid (inj, 56), S Doyle for St Leger (59), R O'Brien for McGrath (64), J Kane for Kavanagh (inj, 67).

REF -- F Kelly (Longford)

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