Monday 19 February 2018

Hyland defiant as Kildare face Farrell's young Dubs

Kildare's David Hyland
Kildare's David Hyland
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Dublin are hot favourites to win yet another underage Leinster football title and it's easy to see why.

Despite their youth, Dessie Farrell's U-21 team is packed with players who have big-day experience.

Many of the squad were part of the team that won All-Ireland minor honours three years ago while others were on the squad that won last year's U-21 All-Ireland title.

Add in the experience of Gavin Burke gained when winning a club All-Ireland with St Vincent's and you get a picture of a side who are used to, and expect, success.

In all, eight of the current U-21 squad are involved with Jim Gavin's seniors and they have made one change, introducing Cormac Costello for the injured Killian O'Gara in the full forward line.

In stark contrast, only David Hyland and Niall Kelly have experience of being involved with Jason Ryan's senior Kildare team.

However, it's something Hyland believes could work in their favour.

"I think that is a huge positive for us because we have a team there and everyone else is training together the whole year around," explained the Athy youngster.

"It is a tight knit group and hopefully that will stand to us because I feel it has stood to us in the last two games."

Kildare defeated Offaly in their opening game and Meath last time out which was significant given the Royals reached the Leinster and All-Ireland minor finals - both of which the lost to Dublin - three years ago. And Hyland believes their two outings to date will stand to them when they take on the Dubs in Navan tonight.

"(Offaly) had some huge lads who are probably key for their senior team," he added. "And that shows in how well they are going in Division 4 and they are probably not doing themselves justice - they should probably be in Division 3 and up near the top of it.

"Meath I think had six or seven senior players as well and they have given us a good platform for the next day. Hopefully it stands to us."

Dublin have been tested to varying degrees so far. In their clash with Laois, the midlanders led shortly after half-time while Longford also showed they can be frustrated and perhaps more tellingly, hit the Dubs for three goals before finally succumbing.

Despite those goals, Dublin found a way to get by while the introduction of Costello gives them an added edge in attack. And while Kildare will test them, Dublin have the experience and the talent to ensure their run of success continues.

Dublin (v Kildare) - L Molloy; S Clayton, D Byrne, R McGowan; E Lowndes, C Mullally, E Murchan; S Cunningham, S Carthy; G Burke, A Foley, N Scully; C Costello, C McHugh, C Basquel.

Irish Independent

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