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O'Neill: Kildare targeting Leinster final

KILDARE star Padraig O'Neill has his sights set on a Leinster final appearance after they got their championship campaign off to a winning start against Louth on Sunday.

The Lilies will face either Meath or Carlow in their semi-final on June 29, when a win would see them return to the provincial showpiece for the first time since 2009.

And despite the relative youth of Jason Ryan's side, O'Neill urged his team-mates to grab the opportunity with both hands.

"There are no guarantees we will be here next year," said the St Laurence's man. "It's going to be do or die. Our aim is to get to a Leinster final. It's going to be hard to get there but that's our aim."

Having lost some of their more familiar names including John Doyle, Dermot Early, Morgan O'Flaherty and Ronan Sweeney, Kildare are undergoing something of a transition and suffered relegation from the top flight earlier this year.

Last weekend, they handed out three championship debuts while it was some of the younger faces including Niall Kelly and Paudge Fogarty that led the 15-point dismantling of the Wee County.

"It's nice to get out at Croker in the first game, there's plenty of space out there. We got the first few scores, they helped us. They settled them down," O'Neill said.

"All of those young lads are all well capable of playing. In training you see they're pushing the older lads on so we have to keep on our toes.

"It's a long wait since the league, so it was good to get going. Look, we targeted the first 10 or 15 minutes after Louth had a match beforehand and we wanted to hit the ground running," O'Neill added.

"We're meeting Meath or Carlow next so you can't think too far ahead. Whoever we get in the semi-final, the aim is to get to the provincial final and then worry about that then.

"On any given day, anything can happen and that's the way we have to look at it. We have to be 100pc prepared."

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