Ireland star O'Gara puts Kildare duo through paces
KILDARE free-takers Johnny Doyle and Eoghan O'Flaherty had a kicking session with Munster and Ireland out- half Ronan O'Gara at Carton House, Maynooth yesterday in the build-up to Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Donegal at Croke Park.
Doyle enjoyed a flawless evening's kicking against Derry last Saturday, landing six points from six frees, but as a last-eight clash with Donegal approaches, Kildare are leaving no stone unturned in their preparation.
O'Gara -- along with Irish kicking coach Mark Tainton -- put the Kildare place-kickers through their paces at Carton House, as the pitch surface is known to be very similar to that in Croke Park.
Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney has links to the Irish rugby squad and he arranged the kicking session after a previous meeting last year proved successful.
O'Flaherty is Kildare's free-taker from distance and also takes '45s', but it's the reliability of Doyle that has driven Kildare into the last eight. His six points against Derry brought his tally for the championship season to 2-21, with 2-17 of that coming from either penalties or free-kicks.
Kildare, and indeed Doyle himself, struggled from frees during the league with the lack of a reliable left-footed kicker obvious as McGeeney's team failed to make the most of dead balls from the right-hand side of the pitch.
So, it was a real boost for Kildare to see Doyle stroke the ball over the bar from that side against Derry. Now, with the help of O'Gara and Tainton, Doyle and O'Flaherty will hope to continue their success against Donegal.