'Performance will give us confidence,' insists Lilywhites boss O'Neill
Kildare 1-25 Antrim 0-14
Kildare navigated a potential Belfast banana skin easily on Saturday, coming away from Corrigan Park with a 14-point win to secure a place in this morning's draw for Round 3 of the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers.
However, manager Cian O'Neill played down any thoughts of a return to the 'Super 8s' despite his side's impressive showing in which Fergal Conway's second-half goal put paid to Antrim's challenge after Kildare had led by 0-13 to 0-6 at the break.
"If you look at how we played in the early stages of the Leinster Championship, we didn't play with confidence, we didn't play with a real verve in our game. We got a lesson against Dublin in the second half, so all we are trying to do now is build match by match," said O'Neill.
"We'll wait for the draw on Monday morning and what that performance will do is give us confidence and we've been lacking confidence and hopefully that will bring us on to another level."
Antrim boss Lenny Harbinson made no excuses. His Division 4 side battled hard, with Paddy McBride in particular worthy of mention.
The St John's clubman finished with six points from play.
"There was a gulf in class and that was obvious to everybody who was watching the game," said Harbinson.
Kildare led from trap to line with Neil Flynn and Adam Tyrrell scoring 10 first-half points between them. The Lilywhites led by 0-11 to 0-3 on 28 minutes after a run of seven unanswered points and while Antrim brought the gap back to five, helped by a Ryan Murray brace, Kildare tacked on the final two points of the half to take a seven-point lead into the break.
Antrim closed the gap just after the restart through Matt Fitzpatrick but Conway's goal on 40 minutes put paid to any chance of a comeback.
Having made six early substitutions, Kildare were forced to play the last 18 minutes with 14 men as Flynn went off injured but it made little difference to the pattern of the game.
SCORERS - Kildare: N Flynn 0-8 (3f); A Tyrrell 0-7 (4f); F Conway 1-2; J Hyland 0-3; K Feely 0-2; M O'Grady, J Gibbons, T Moolick 0-1 each. Antrim: P McBride 0-6; M Fitzpatrick 0-3; R Murray 0-2 (2f); J McAuley, C Murray, S Beatty 0-1 each.
Kildare - M Donnellan 7; M Dempsey 7, M O'Grady 8, P Kelly 7; C O'Donoghue 7, E Doyle 7, D Hyland 8; K Feely 8, F Conway 9; D Slattery 7, C Healy 7, K Cribbin 7; A Tyrrell 8, B McCormack 8, N Flynn 8. Subs: J Hyland 8 for Healy (BC, 14), T Moolick 8 for Cribbin (h-t), M Hyland 7 for O'Donoghue (42), E O'Flaherty 7 for D Slattery (43), C Hartley 7 for Kelly (54), J Gibbons 7 for Tyrrell (57).
Antrim - P Nugent 7; P McCormick 7, R Johnston 6, P Gallagher 6; D Lynch 7, M Johnston 6, N Delargy 7; C Duffin 6, K Quinn 7; J McAuley 7, M Fitzpatrick 8, S Beatty 7; R Murray 7, P McBride 8, C Murray 7. Subs: E Walsh 6 for M Johnston (h-t), R Scott 6 for Beatty (h-t), R McNulty 6 for Quinn (48), J Smith 7 for R Murray (53), M McCarry 6 for C Murray (60), F Burke for Delargy (64).
Ref - N Mooney (Cavan)