Friday 24 November 2017

'Veteran' Flynn backs Dublin's fearless young guns to rise to big occasion

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

WHITE noise tends to bring the best out in Paul Flynn when it comes to Dublin v Kildare clashes in the Leinster championship.

The clamour of the Lilywhite fans and the sight of the Kildare jerseys on the green sward of Croke Park is a combination that gets Flynn's competitive juices flowing.

Tomorrow's Leinster semi-final will be no different and once again Flynn gets ready to rumble. The sides haven't met very often in championship fare, but Dublin have edged home in their most recent Leinster clashes, in 2009 and 2011.

Flynn, however, admits that in the '09 provincial final, in particular, his team needed a slice of good luck to emerge with a win because the Lilies always give a good account of themselves.

"Kildare have big, strong lads who throw everything at you. I'm sure it's going to be no different this time," he reflects. "You never get anything easy against them, but I love playing against Kildare."

Bernard Brogan did the crucial damage to Kildare in '09, and two years later in the semi-finals, a controversial free enabled Dublin to snatch a last-gasp winner.

There aren't many, if any, secrets between the counties, but perhaps the presence of former Wexford manager Jason Ryan in the Kildare camp can throw something different into the mix for Kieran McGeeney's men.

Under Ryan's direction, Wexford gave the Dubs some torrid matches over the last few seasons.

"I don't know what his (Ryan's) role is with Kildare. The two of them McGeeney and Ryan are obviously working together so that's going to add a little bit to them," says Flynn.

The pressure will be on both sides tomorrow, but Flynn has no fears about any of the young guns that Jim Gavin puts on the pitch, despite the high stakes.

He finds it amusing to be considered one of the older players, but says: "I've had no choice. The average age of the team has decreased rapidly and I seem to be at the very end of the scale. There are only five or six lads older than me and I'm only 26. It is hard to believe they are all so young.

"They've come in like a breath of fresh air and have blended in seamlessly. They don't think about the game, they just go out and do it.

"It's a great attitude. They are only 19 – they go out and train, they go home. It's great."

Flynn missed the league final against Tyrone through injury but saw the fledgling Dubs mark their territory within the squad.

"In the league final, they showed great character when a Tyrone team with a lot of experienced players really took it to them," he says.

"Even Jack (McCaffrey) got forward to score a great point at the end, and Dean Rock kicked two beautiful points. Whatever test has been thrown at them this year they have answered."

Kildare are sure to prove another searching examination of their capabilities.

* Flynn was speaking in his role as an Adidas ambassador, modelling the next instalment of the Predator Incurza boot, the XTRX SG II.

Irish Independent

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