Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: Kildare will be back in Croke Park soon

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Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

I spent a while in Croke Park on Sunday last in pleasant company, having lunch.

We were all there to see how Kildare would fare against Dublin.

We talked about the qualifiers, and the amazing luck of the draw.

Chance favours the strongest teams. When luck is with you, it knows no bounds.

I'm quite sure you're all overburdened with analysis of Dublin’s latest Leinster Final success, so I won't overdo the verbals.

Dublin looked decidedly shaky at times in that final, and must be giving hope to others waiting to take them on.

Kildare were able to compete physically, and won most of the midfield battles, especially in the early part of the game.

Moreover, Kildare missed three clear goal chances, something you cannot afford to do against any team. Goals are more than just scores. Goals are psychological arrows that go to the heart of the opposition, particularly with a team who always streak ahead by scoring a few themselves, without any equal disturbance at the other end.

Kildare opened the game with serious intent, and two minutes into the game, Tommy Moolick, who with Kevin Feely was storming midfield, and giving Dublin as good as they got, pulled a weak shot - that was the first clear goal chance.

That would have put Kildare ahead, with the game hardly on. After that Dublin upped their game and scored two goals which should have buried Kildare, but that wasn't the case.

Keith Cribbin was moving very well, and constantly turning defence into attack.

Suddenly when he began a solo run which took him right past midfield, through the empty space in the middle of the field and through the defence towards the twenty metre line he'd done everything right and Dublin were showing fear but he blazed his shot over the bar. The game was then on for twenty minutes. And Dublin had scored two goals - yet Kildare found the temperament to hold their heads cool enough to create another clear goal chance.

Had Kildare scored both goals two things would have occurred:

Psychologically they'd have rattled Dublin, who would have had to start thinking about watching their defensive strategies with more care, and perhaps would have taken greater watch on their full back line.

Kildare didn't, and Dublin made no changes.

Yet, in the second half, Kildare full forward Daniel Flynn, who seemed impervious to Dublin aggression, stormed through the Dublin defence but amazingly shot from point blank range, straight at Stephen Cluxton.

Experience would have caused at least two of the three easy goal chances to find its way to the Dublin net.

From then on, the game took a predictable pattern, but without the usual folding of the tent from the opposition. Kildare never gave up, and despite the defeat, I saw enough to confirm that this Kildare team are a coming force, and won't be long until they are back in Croke Park again.