Tuesday 21 January 2020

Sars' crowned Lily champions

Sarsfields 2-15 Newbridge 2-9, Kildare SFC final replay

Seán Campbell lifts the cup for Sarsfields at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Seán Campbell lifts the cup for Sarsfields at St Conleth's Park in Newbridge. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Davy Burke is a young manager in quite a hurry. After guiding Kildare to an All-Ireland U20 title in 2018 he immersed himself into one of the great club rivalries, not just in his own county but across the province, when he took over a Sarsfields team that had failed to make it to the last four in the previous two years.

By their standards and with the breadth of talent available to them, that constitutes a small famine.

But Burke, just 31 and bound for Wicklow as their senior manager in 2020, set to work and the fruits of that labour were evident in the second half of yesterday's Kildare SFC final replay when they powered past Newbridge neighbours Moorefield with a strong brand of athleticism and clever play.

Champions don't often lose replays and when Moorefield hit a purple patch in the second quarter, hitting 1-5 without reply between the 16th and 23rd minutes to lead by four points, they looked to have asserted their authority impressively.

Sarsfields' response to that was equally impressive however as they landed the next three points to cut the deficit to the minimum before Eanna O'Connor pushed the lead back out to two, 1-7 to 0-8, at the break.

Ultimately, that trio of points from Darragh Ryan, Declan McKenna and Conor Hartley was the winning of the game.

There was also an undercurrent of history as Moorefield sought their first three-in-row.

As the previous club in Kildare to manage that feat in the early 1950s 'the Sash' were determined not to allow their great rivals that particular honour on their watch.

"It really opened my eyes to rivalries and what they are. I'm delighted for them. The likes of Darragh Ryan, 'man of the match' there, he's a top drawer footballer but (preventing) three-in-a-row wouldn't, I'd say, have a huge meaning to him yet. But it's the older boys, the 30-year-olds, they will cling on to that, that 1950s win, is so important for them," said Burke.

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