Category: Archive

Kildare shock Dublin in replay

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

Did this really happen? How was it possible? Dublin, six points clear at half-time in this Leinster football final replay, destined to lose by five. What sort of alchemy had Kildare come up with to pull off one of the most audacious coups in championship history? Manager Mick O’Dwyer, who has seen a few dramatic moments in his time, caught the mood. "I would rate that as good as any occasion I had with Kerry. It was outstanding, a classic."

Certainly, no one could have foretold such an improbable swing in fortunes. An opening 35 minutes which had Dublin supporters looking ahead confidently to the season’s ultimate prize, followed by a dark second-half which will surely herald the end of manager Tom Carr and several of his team to boot.

Dublin could only manage a single point after the interval; Colin Moran’s effort was greeted by almost complete silence by their massed ranks of fans as Kildare ran amok.

"I don’t know, I’m not sure we’ve anything left to offer," said Carr. "As for me, I’m not really sure. I’m still getting over this defeat."

An unanswered seven point burst between the 18th and the 29th minutes had put Dublin in pole position. Jason Sherlock had fired a goal chance over the bar and then Brian Stynes lofted a scoring opportunity into Christy Byrne’s hands, so the margin could have been even wider.

Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo

Subscribe to one of our great value packages.

But from a position of supremacy, the Dubs’ world fell apart at the start of the second-half. Within a minute, Pádraig Brennan had put Dermot Earley through and his shot found the target for Kildare’s first goal and then seconds later, Tadgh Fennin was played in by substitute Brian Murphy for the goal number two.

"Dublin put 100 per cent into the first-half," mused O’Dwyer, "but there was no way they could keep that level up. They probably shot their bolt too early. But this Kildare team has character, remember we were two goals down to Offaly as well and came back to win. These players are not like Kildare teams of the past, they have fire in their bellies and the will to win."

Whatever about Kildare’s determination, you would have expected Dublin to have been better prepared to stem any comeback. Both goals could have been prevented, but instead of galvanizing Carr’s players, it was as if they signalled a surrender.

More damning than Dublin’s capitulation was the fact that it took Kildare another quarter of an hour to push ahead with a couple of Brennan frees. Dublin had plenty of time to absorb the setback and still go on and win the game; however, all they demonstrated was a startling lack of resolve.

Admittedly, O’Dwyer’s introduction of his son Karl, and of Murphy, worked a treat, but a better team than Dublin would surely have refused to lie down. In the end, Kildare showed more stubbornness than skill, yet they have proved this season that they are one of the hardest sides to beat. Their semi-final clash with Galway on Sunday week should be another treat.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese