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My 'flat-track ponies' still have it all to prove, admits McGeeney

ON A weekend of qualifier shocks, on a day when Kerry almost stumbled upon a Mullingar earthquake, there wasn't the merest hint of a tremor in Breffni Park.

Kildare are back on that familiar 'back door' horse, having atoned for their latest Leinster mishap, but Kieran McGeeney readily admitted that yesterday's Cavan cruise proved nothing beyond their continued presence in the championship race.

"Fellas had a point to prove, but I don't think they've proved anything yet," he reflected. "I'm sure they'll be reminded of it tomorrow. I think they're being referred to as flat-track ponies or something. Again, it's just work hard and go at it again."

The Kildare boss appreciates the doubters will remain until or if his team goes the All-Ireland distance.

"Everyone keeps saying we haven't beaten any of the top four teams, but if we did then we'd be All-Ireland champions. They're the top four for a reason, and you're trying to break into it," he mused.

"At the end of the day the people who are doing the talking will have the last laugh because you have to win something to stop that."

Yesterday offered little clue as to Kildare's potential on that front, for the simple reason that Cavan were too callow. The home side were also far too errant in their shooting (15 wides compared to a frugal three for the winners) while several of their players were painfully laboured compared to a super-fit Kildare who seemed to have shaken off the surprising lethargy that infected their display against Meath.

Any semblance of a contest between near-equals was shattered by goals from Mikey Conway in the 19th minute and Emmet Bolton six minutes later. Conway finished at point-blank range after a pitch-length move that cut Cavan to shreds; Bolton was left totally unmarked when what appeared to be a mis-hit James Kavanagh shot turned into the perfect through pass.

By half-time, the visitors led 2-11 to 0-4. Forwards who had struggled against Meath - such as Eoghan O'Flaherty and Conway - were lively on the ball and busy on the scoreboard too.

Tomás O'Connor was invariably out in front of his man: typically, you might say, he failed to score but typically too he was fouled for five pointed frees. The one forward who wreaked most of the damage, though, was Alan Smith with a princely 1-5 from play, crowned by a 66th-minute goal.

The Kildare defence had a few shaky moments when Cavan ran through the middle while Peter Kelly (starting at full-back to facilitate Michael Foley's move to midfield) won't be best pleased to have allowed Eugene Keating win the high ball that led to Cavan's 37th-minute goal.

Minor quibbles. Now bigger fish await.