Monday 22 January 2018

McGeeney seeks clinical edge from victorious Lilies

Kildare 1-11
DCU 0-9
O'Byrne Cup

Daragh Conchir

Kildare upset the odds by securing a comfortable victory over champions DCU to set up a semi-final in Westmeath next Sunday.

According to winning manager Kieran McGeeney, the margin might have been a lot greater but for the influence of referee Pat Fox.

The Westmeath official was damned with tongue-in-cheek praise when McGeeney said he was deserving of kudos for making the game a bit more exciting than it might have been.

Donie Shine supplied all bar one of DCU's scores -- all from placed balls -- with his county colleague Cathal Cregg providing DCU's only point from play in the 29th minute.


"In the second half we were very sloppy with our shooting but in fairness to Pat Fox I thought he made a good game of it and gave Donie plenty of practice," said McGeeney afterwards.

"I'd like to see the stats. I think we got one free kick inside the 50. I thought Pat Fox made it an exciting game in the second half."

DCU might have been the favourites but the champions were second best for most of this tie at Newbridge.

First-half midfield dominance was at the heart of the home side's success and, with the defensive effort keeping the college's much-vaunted attack in check, they were comfortable from the time youngster Fionn Dowling punched to the roof of the DCU net in the 14th minute.

That put them five points clear, after Shine had given DCU the lead with the opening score of the game from a free.

Unfortunately, the visitors were utterly reliant on the Roscommon man's accuracy from placed balls and only managed one score from play over the 70 minutes, when Cregg finished well from a tight angle in the 29th minute.

In contrast, Kildare had eight scorers, seven of whom scored from play including defender Eamonn Callaghan and midfielders Pádraig O'Neill and Hugh Lynch.

The Lilywhites, however, also racked up 16 wides. "The work rate was very good -- we missed seven or eight chances but we were making the chances," McGeeney enthused.

"Defensively I thought we were fairly tight considering the talent they would have up front and the fitness as well. I'd have to say I was happy with that work rate but you'd like a couple of more scores with that type of dominance."

O'Neill was responsible for the score of the game, following up a point from 45 metres by fetching a Michael Boyle kick-out on the run around 60 metres out, carrying 10 metres and lofting over a wonderful kick.

McGeeney's men led by 1-8 to 0-4 at the break but then Shine converted three frees on the trot as DCU began to get on top after the resumption.

Rookie Kildare goalkeeper Shane Connolly made two excellent saves and at the death denied Conor Rafferty from the penalty spot twice as referee Fox deemed him to have come off his line the first time.

By that stage the game was up though, Mark O'Sullivan bringing his tally to three with two snappy finishes, and there was only time for Shine to loft over a '45'.

Scorers -- Kildare: M O'Sullivan 0-3, F Dowling 1-0, P O'Neill, T Moolick 0-2 each, H Lynch, E O'Flaherty, K Ennis, E Callaghan 0-1 each. DCU: D Shine 0-8 (7f, 1 '45); C Cregg 0-1.

Kildare -- S Connolly; C Fitzpatrick, M Foley, O Lyons; E Callaghan, M Scanlon, D Whyte; H Lynch, P O'Neill; M O'Sullivan, E O'Flaherty, T Moolick; K Ennis, W Heffernan, F Dowling. Subs: H McGrillen for Foley (h-t), A Smith for Ennis (46), K Cribbin for Fitzpatrick (46), R Walsh for Dowling (57), E Bolton for Lyons (70).

DCU -- M Boyle; N Collins, K Gavin, S Ormsby; J McCarthy, B Cullen, N Adam; M McElhinney, D Shine; P Andrews, D O'Gara, C Cregg; D Kelly, M Murphy, C McGuinness. Subs: C Lillis for McCarthy (8), C Rafferty for Murphy (28), F O'Shea for McElhinney (h-t), R Quinlivan for Cregg (50), C Hughes for Lillis (51)

Ref -- P Fox (Westmeath).

Irish Independent

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