Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 11 December 2017

Time for Kildare to deliver Leinster crown, insists Doyle

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kildare could be lining up John Doyle for a place at midfield in their opening Leinster championship match against Wicklow in Portlaoise on Sunday.

The possibility of Doyle lining out at midfield has been raised by his presence there during a challenge match against Armagh last week and again in an internal practice match over the weekend.

Doyle has spent a career in the Kildare attack but the prospect of a move further outfield, while far from certain, has been raised by recent moves.

Daryl Flynn is almost certain to start in midfield for Kildare and Paudie O'Neill would still appear to be his most likely partner.

But Kildare may have plans to give their long-serving 33-year-old marksman a spin there at some stage during the game.

Kildare will be without Dermot Earley, Peter Kelly and Ken Donnelly for the game as they are all recovering from cruciate ligament problems.

Time has gone against Mikey Conway as he recovers from a similar injury, although he is close to a making a return.

Eamonn Callaghan and Ronan Sweeney missed recent challenges against Armagh and Tipperary, but took part in the practice match over the weekend and are in contention for starting places.

It's a big year for Kildare and despite the progress and improvement in performances, there's a growing pressure on the team to deliver some championship silverware in the months ahead. Doyle, for one, is prepared to acknowledge that.

"That's what you are judged on, regardless of the football you play. Every team in the country goes out and will judge their year on what they have to show for it," said Doyle (left).

"We are four years with this management and we have nothing to show for it. You try to win every competition that you are involved in. Our next competition is the Leinster championship. We're no different than any other team. That's your goal, to win a Leinster championship.

"We'll stand here at the end of the year and we'll be judged on what we have to show for it. It's plain and simple."

Reaching the semi-final last year was no consolation and the indifferent nature of their league campaign has left them concerned, but, on their day, Doyle believes they are as good as any team.

"You get to an All-Ireland semi- final on merit. Everyone has their own opinion, but we'd like to think we're as good as any team on the day, if we perform to our ability," he said.

"We can do all the training we want, but you have to perform. You can be up and down with that, our championship last year was a bit like that. We performed well some days and the days we didn't, we just got over teams."

Irish Independent

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