| 18.5°C Dublin

Gutted ... but oh so proud as Kildare fans (and Yvonne) see brave Lilywhites just lose out

RONAN Keating's wife Yvonne was snapped at the Kildare-Down football clash just 48 hours after confirming her marriage to the singer was over.

The 36-year-old former model, from Maynooth, took son Jack (11) to watch the Lilywhites as they lost by two points to their Ulster rivals at Croke Park yesterday.

There was no sign of Ronan, who was home this weekend ahead of his children's return to school. He is due to return to Australia alone this week to work on X Factor there.

Despite their disappointment with the outcome, Kildare fans remained fiercely proud of their team's achievement.

"They did their best and fair dues to them for getting this far," said Sadhbh McDonnell of Newbridge. Catherine Daly of Kilcullen was "delighted with Kildare". She felt that the midfield had let the team down but they had still put in a good fight.



denial

Some fans, such as Tanita Ashe from Straffan took this pride even further, right up to the point of denial. In Tanita's eyes, "Kildare still won the match no matter what".

Monaghan referee Pat McEnaney was cast as the Grinch who stole Christmas by several Kildare spectators.

Both father and son Andy and Ruairi O'Connor from Naas felt robbed by the Monaghan man and his umpires.

Ruairi said: "There was no refereeing at all. The umpire who gave the goal should have seen it was a square ball. He was standing there getting himself a suntan when he should have been watching the ball."

Tom O'Connor, also from Naas, told the Herald he had his grievances with McEnaney all ready lined up to go on Joe Duffy. "Why did they have an Ulster referee anyway, sure isn't there plenty to pick from in Connacht or Munster?"

Literally running out of the grounds of Croke Park, Catherine Johnson and Aoife Courtney from Newbridge refused to mope. Catherine felt it would have been an entirely different game if the Lillywhites had had their veteran midfielder Dermot Earley on the pitch.

Students, Kathleen Daly and Aine Moore from Kilcock were not going to let defeat in the match ruin their night out.

Kathleen described the Kildare outfit as "good in the first half", but felt "they just weren't out in front to get the ball".

Aine felt very positive about Kildare's chances in 2011. "They are the best team so far. They're mentally and physically fit so I think they will be back."

Two of Kildare's younger fans, James Manning (10) and Ryan Leahy (10), were in strong agreement that Johnny Doyle was the best player on the field.

James's mother Una Manning felt "the goal should have been disallowed. After it, the backs lost heart and it's hard to come back from that."

Sue Nolan and Aisling Nolan from Maynooth also credited Johnny Doyle's performance.

Sue found it crushing that the Down goal which had done such damage to Kildare had come from a square ball.

To make matters worse the two ladies couldn't even console themselves with a night out. Both of the Kildare ladies had work in Carlow first thing this morning to look forward to.

The Lawlers were also planning on spending the night in. "We're going home to watch the match again and pick out where the ref let us down," said Tina, mum of John and Brianne.