Tuesday 20 February 2018

'For the teams we've had, it's a poor show'

Moorefield veteran Daryl Flynn will be hoping to help Kildare champions claim Leinster title. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Moorefield veteran Daryl Flynn will be hoping to help Kildare champions claim Leinster title. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Daryl Flynn is making no secret of it. Ask him whether he expected more big days across his club career and he'll give it to you straight. The Moorefield teams he has been a part of, he insists, should have won more.

On Sunday, they'll face Westmeath champions St Loman's in Portlaoise's O'Moore Park for the AIB Leinster Club SFC title. It's a full 11 years since they won a Leinster title back in 2006. Flynn was 21 that day and expected the good times to roll for the Newbridge based side.

"You'd expect to be back every year, yeah, with the teams we had," Flynn reflected. "We probably just didn't give it all for them. We won a few county titles but never kicked on in Leinster.

"Kildare teams over the past couple of years haven't really kicked on in Leinster, 2006 was the last time a Kildare team was in the final. Sars (Sarsfields) were in the final the year before, and (Round) Towers. So Kildare teams haven't done well but thankfully we've had a good run this year. We beat Portlaoise and Rathnew and we're in the final anyway."

Their win over Rathnew felt significant for their team. Not only had they beaten the team that knocked out All-Ireland favourites St Vincent's in the previous round but they got over a Leinster semi-final. It was Flynn's fifth appearance at the penultimate stage in the province but only their second win.

"We've lost a few obviously. Portlaoise beat us in a few and Rhode. We beat Pat's down in Aughrim and now we beat Rathnew, so we've good memories from there.

Former Kerry All-Ireland-winning manager Jack O’Connor is helping out in the background. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Former Kerry All-Ireland-winning manager Jack O’Connor is helping out in the background. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

"We won it in 2006 but it's 11 years now since we got to a Leinster final. And for the teams we've had, it's a poor show from us. We've had to really knuckle down this year and we came in under the radar a bit.

Underdogs

"In Kildare, we were underdogs all year and we came the hard way, beating Sarsfields, Athy and Celbridge who were three of the favourites for the title. It's been tough all year."

The sides haven't come across each other before, not even on the challenge game circuit. However, they are linked by former Westmeath manager Luke Dempsey who guided Moorefield to back-to-back county titles in Kildare before steering St Loman's to three in a row in Westmeath, meaning he has won county titles in five successive seasons in two different counties.

"It shows what a good manager he is," Flynn reflected. "He's teaching up that way. He did two (county titles) with us and he is after winning three in a row with Loman's. I don't know has any manager done five in a row with two different teams.

"They've had two runs in Leinster and now this is their first Leinster final. He'll have them well tuned in, he'll know us well, so they'll have their homework done on us. It's going to be a tough one."

Former Moorefield player Ross Glavin is the man now in charge with former Kerry All-Ireland-winning manager Jack O'Connor helping out in the background with the club his two sons, Cian and Eanna, play for.

Barring an appeal, Cian will miss Sunday's final through suspension though Eanna has been in top form for the club to the point where Glavin has tipped him for a call-up to the Kildare set-up.

"I think he's improving all the time," Flynn said of Eanna O'Connor. "He's a fascinating footballer and he's after taking over the frees as well, like a duck to water.

"He's been playing well for us, scoring all year from play and frees. He's a great man even for getting some of the younger lads into the game as well. After Cian got sent off, his next play was a '45. When I was sent off in the county final, the next play again was a '45. He kicked the two of them, even with the pressure on him. They were vital scores."

Flynn retired from Kildare in 2016 and he admits having more players at home training with the club on a weekly basis has helped them reclaim the county title.

"Yeah, it probably does help; the year before we had nine in with the county, and we were beaten in the final.

"It helps that we've had a full squad, we've had 30 lads training all year since January up to now. We have 30 every night at training which is a great help. Next year, it might be different with the county, but we'll worry about that then.

"It's a 50-50 (game). Loman's have a great side as well. They came from seven points down in the Leinster semi-final, and it's a great achievement.

"In their county final as well, they were down; they seem to start slow and kick on.

"We're possibly the opposite, we get goals early and start well but then let teams back into it. So it'll be a close game."

Irish Independent

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