'Confidence is high, there's a pep in people's step around Kildare' - Flynn
It's been a long road back to championship football for Kildare's Daniel Flynn, but four years after his last All-Ireland start the 22-year-old quickly made up for lost time in Sunday's 14-point demolition of Laois.
As the first Irish rookie drafted to the AFL from Tadhg Kennelly's Europe Talent Combine in 2013, nobody ever doubted Flynn's ability, but a series of setbacks scuppered his progress with the Lilies since returning from Port Adelaide two years ago.
Kildare's promotion to Division 1 this season was underpinned by his powerful attacking play and the Johnstownbridge forward proved too hot to handle for the O'Moore men on his way to a personal tally of 1-3.
The mixture of satisfaction and relief were clear to see just minutes after the final whistle sounded. With his injury nightmare now put to bed, he's glad to be back competing when it really matters as "there hasn't been a clear path for a long time now".
It's a far cry from 12 months ago, when Flynn sat in the stands watching Kildare stumble past Wexford in a dour Croke Park affair, and with a clash against Meath now on the horizon, the Maynooth University student feels Kildare are in a good place.
"We were confident coming into this one. We had a good run through the league and the whole team is gelling together this year with all the underage teams that won silverware. It's very enjoyable and we're all bouncing off each other," Flynn said.
"Lads are just more self-assured and it takes a little while to gel together. These things happen in waves. We had (Kieran) McGeeney and then we dipped a bit and now we are coming back to form again.
"We're enjoying playing football and that has a lot to do with it. We are just confident in ourselves. Even around the county you can feel it. Lads can feel that, even around Newbridge. There is a pep in their step.
"Success breeds success. We've come up from Division 3 to Division 1. There's a good buzz around the county and lads can feel that."
Paddy Brophy was one of the mainstays of Kildare's 2013 Leinster U-21 winners and Flynn issued a positive report on the attacker's progress since returning from his stint down under with the West Coast Eagles.
"Paddy has played all the way up. There are loads of us under 24, lots of us are around that age, and we are all friends. I haven't been chatting to him that much about coming home, but he seems to be settling well. He's flying in training, really putting his hand up," Flynn said.
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