Wednesday 22 November 2017

Game at a glance

Man of the match

Daniel Hughes (Down)

Peter Fitzpatrick, Martin Clarke, Kevin McKernan and Benny Coulter all did very well for Down, but Daniel Hughes was best of all in an energetic performance.

Turning point

Eamonn Callaghan hit the Down post in the 43rd minute. A goal would have kick-started Kildare's revival much earlier than actually happened. Instead, they had to wait a further 15 minutes to begin the recovery process when Callaghan found the net.

Talking point

Why wasn't Down's goal disallowed? Benny Coulter was in the square before the ball but was given the benefit of the doubt by the referee, who also made a crucial call late on when Kildare's pleas for a penalty were turned down.

Ref watch

Pat McEneaney should have disallowed Benny Coulter's goal while there were doubts over the validity of Eamonn Callaghan's goal too, as he appeared to have taken too many steps.

What they said

James McCartan (Down manager):

"We needed Benny's goal to kick-start us. I felt we won the second and third quarter and were in the process of starting well in the final one but in the last eight minutes it was all one-way traffic -- yet I still felt we were a scoring threat."

Kieran McGeeney (Kildare manager):

"I played on, in my eyes, not everyone else's eyes, one of the great teams who played Gaelic football, though we mightn't have showed it with our cups but they were a great bunch of lads. I would have to say that this bunch are right up there with their dedication and their commitment."

Match statistics

Wides: Down 10 (6); Kildare 12 (6).

Frees: Down 17 (7); Kildare 28 (11).

Yellow cards: Down 2 (D Rooney 35, K King 64); Kildare 4 (B Flanagan 25, E O'Flaherty 36, H McGrillen 48, H Lynch 55).

Red cards: Down 0; Kildare 0;

Attendance: 62,182.

What next?

Down play Cork in the All-Ireland final on September 19. Kildare reflect on how their luck ran out just when they needed it most.

Irish Independent

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