Friday 15 December 2017

Westmeath's Dubs drubbing a wake-up call for us - Kelly

Kildare's Niall Kelly. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Kildare's Niall Kelly. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

If Kildare supporters and players were about to get carried away with themselves after their comprehensive win over Meath, forward Niall Kelly reckons Dublin's performance against Westmeath was the ideal antidote.

Kelly is not trying to hide from the fact that excitement has built locally since they put the Royals to the sword. After all, that's only natural when you haven't been in a provincial decider in eight years.

But when Dublin tore apart a Westmeath team that had beaten Kildare in last year's Leinster Championship, Kelly reckons minds in their camp were quickly focused.

"There is a high expectation in Kildare naturally," he said ahead of Sunday's clash. "I could feel almost a sense of relief more than anything that we were back there (in a Leinster final) coming towards the end (of the Meath game) and us being up by a little bit.

"The excitement went out of the game a little bit, but then after the game it just ramped up again. I'm not sure if people had our names on trophies, that's the fact we're facing Dublin probably. It was great after the Meath game to feel that because it's been a while since it happened in Kildare. It's up to us now to get our feet back on the ground and the Dublin-Westmeath game has probably done that.

Performance "Dublin have been doing that to teams over the last few years. The Westmeath game was a wake-up call after the win over Meath. We had a week after the Meath game where we were happy with our performance for the most part and then the Dublin game brought us right back down to earth again. It showed just how much work we had to do. The Meath performance won't be enough on the day against Dublin."

Still, Kelly reckons that although they are huge underdogs this weekend, only a win will do.

"People outside the group may feel us losing by a few points would be a good result, but to us we may never get back to a Leinster final again. Who knows, it could be another eight years and a lot of our team would be gone. The only result we can set ourselves up for is a win, and we just have to work towards that.

"Expectation is always high in Kildare and a lot of people wouldn't be happy with anything less than a win and that's completely understandable... We have to focus on a win and whatever comes with it and we know it's going to be a big shift that will win the game. That's where our heads are at."



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