Sunday 17 December 2017

McGeeney welcomes chance to blood new talent

Kildare 1-13 Carlow IT 0-7

Daragh O Conchuir

Kieran McGeeney has welcomed the new round-robin format of the O'Byrne Cup that will see teams play three games in eight days.

The Kildare manager was satisfied with his side's opening-round victory in front of 1,976 people at St Conleth's Park, even though he would have liked to have seen more from them.

While he fielded a very experienced team, it is the chance to blood new players in such a set-up that appeals to McGeeney.

In the clash with the Carlow students, he was particularly satisfied with the efforts of centre-forward Cathal McNally and last year's minor captain Paddy Brophy.

There was satisfaction too in the performance of Mikey Conway, who captained the side from centre-back in what is evidently an attempt to reprise the Nurney man's magnificent form as a play-maker from wing-back in 2009.

"We should have scored around 2-18 and we're working hard on getting more scores," said McGeeney. "Mikey did well in a new role and I was delighted with Cathal McNally and Paddy Brophy.

"We're not trying to set the world alight in January. We just want to see if we can blood a few players and keep the training up for a very tough opening against Donegal in the league.

"I think the cup competitions are good and they're trying to make sure everyone is getting games, which is what we want. Training is on hold this week, but, ultimately, what every player wants is more games, so it's good."

The difference between the sides was stark as the students struggled to cope with their opponents' physical strength and turned the ball over regularly in the tackle as a result.

Kildare led by 0-7 to 0-2 at half-time, with McNally and Ronan Sweeney getting them off to a nice start and Ollie Lyons, Mikey Conway and Tomas O'Connor augmenting their efforts.

Rob Kelly fisted to the net in the 52nd minute after good work by White and it was plain sailing from there.

Ben Brosnan – who must have found it strange to see the Wexford manager of the past five years, Jason Ryan, in the Kildare dugout – Jamie Farrell and the eye-catching Anthony Forde responded for Sean Dempsey's crew, but Kildare were comfortable.

Brophy, Conway, Padraig O'Neill, Brian Flanagan and McNally kept the scoreboard ticking over as the game drifted towards an inevitable outcome.

Scorers – Kildare: M Conway, R Sweeney 0-3 (2f) each, R Kelly 1-0, C McNally 0-2, O Lyons, T O'Connor, P Brophy, P O'Neill, B Flanagan 0-1 each. Carlow IT: B Brosnan 0-3 f, A Forde 0-2, F Conway, J Farrell 0-1 each.

Kildare– S Connolly; O Lyons, M Foley, H McGrillen; E Bolton, M Conway, E Doyle; G White, P O'Neill; B Flanagan, C McNally, M O'Flaherty; R Kelly, T O'Connor, R Sweeney. Subs: P Brophy for O'Connor (h-t), P Kelly for Bolton (h-t), W Groome for Doyle (49); P Fogarty for Sweeney (51), J Eaton for R Kelly (59).

Carlow IT – S McNamara; J Kinahan, C Lawlor, A Nolan; A Forde, B Kinahan, E Walsh; R Downey, C Boyle; S Gannon, F Conway, D Hayden; M Mangan, B Hurley, B Brosnan. Subs: P Crowley for J Kinahan (inj, 38), J Doyle for Mangan (46), J Farrell for Gannon (62).

Ref – D Gough (Meath).

Irish Independent

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