Monday 24 October 2016

Kildare shock a rare fillip for Leinster's ailing forces

Jason Ryan
Jason Ryan

IF they were closer, they might have a chuckle about it at some point in the future.

As Jim Gavin sat in Thurles, presumably anticipating Cork's victory over Kildare, a likely result and one that would set up an All-Ireland quarter-final between Dublin and the Rebels, Éamonn Fitzmaurice was in Breffni Park having witnessed Fermanagh beating Westmeath, a turn of events that would see Kerry face the Ulster team unless Kildare did something wholly unlikely.

Which is why it was hard for Gavin to be completely diplomatic when he was asked whether he saw Kildare as All-Ireland quarter-final material after Dublin's 19-point dismantling of Jason Ryan's team in the Leinster semi-final.

"Straight up, no you wouldn't see them going that far in that moment in time," Gavin confirmed.

"They have obviously regrouped and they have momentum, which is key in sport.


"They met a Cork team that looked physically tired and they lost Alan O'Connor and James Loughrey, that was a big loss," the Dublin manager poined out.

"But that doesn't take away from an outstanding Kildare performance.

"One would have always seen in them that they have technically good players, they'll make it difficult for any team they meet."

That win meant Kildare became the first Leinster team outside of Dublin to make the last eight of the All-Ireland SFC since Laois in 2012. Should they continue their Munster-bashing ways and pull off an even bigger shock against Kerry on Sunday, they'll be the first Leinster county, bar Dublin, to make an All-Ireland semi-final since themselves in 2010.

"As a Leinster man it is great to see another Leinster team there," Gavin added.

"It's positive for the province."


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