Saturday 16 December 2017

Keenan backs Lilywhite momentum to help take Royal scalp

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

KILDARE are poised to reach the All-Ireland semi-finals for the first time in a decade according to Louth captain Paddy Keenan, who believes the momentum built up in the qualifiers will prove crucial against Meath on Sunday.

Keenan -- who is well placed to assess Kildare and Meath, having played against both of them in the Leinster championship -- has been very impressed by the turnaround in Kildare's form since they lost to Louth by six points in the provincial quarter-final on June 5.

"They're a completely different team now. Apart from a short spell here and there, they didn't get going against us at all that day. Maybe they underestimated us. In fairness, we played well, but Kildare were very disappointed. They have improved with every game since then and will now be full of confidence after running up so many wins," said Keenan.

Meath produced a two-speed effort against Louth in the Leinster final. They were lively enough to run up a three-point lead in the first half, but they lost their way in the second and would have been beaten except for Joe Sheridan's controversial late goal.

"No point going back on that goal now," said Keenan. "Meath got a lot of flak over what happened that day, which was unfair on the players. I'm sure they'll be using it as a motivation against Kildare.

"Apart from that goal, it was a strange performance by Meath. They won a lot of breaking ball in the first half and were strong in the tackle, but once we put things together in the second half, the scene changed.

"It's hard to see how it can be anything but a close game on Sunday, but I feel that Kildare may just have the edge."

Louth have been through a traumatic few weeks which took them from the verge of glory against Meath to the depths of disappointment when they were caught by that controversial goal and then plunged into further misery against Dublin last Sunday.

"It's hard to take it all in, but it's behind us now and we just have to make sure that we learn from it. It's back to the club scene soon and once that's over we'll start looking forward to next year," Keenan concluded.

Irish Independent

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