Allianz National Football League, Division One: Kildare 0-13 Meath 0-7
Kildare manager Glenn Ryan admitted that timing is everything after wrapping up their league campaign with a couple of morale boosting wins.
Ryan acknowledged that while it wasn’t a particularly “polished performance” the result was all that mattered with “a lot of emotion attached” to the Newbridge encounter.
Back to back wins, for starters, has improved Kildare’s chances of avoiding the Tailteann Cup while a big home crowd was also on hand for the final game at St Conleth’s Park before renovation works begin.
Darragh Kirwan helped himself to five points while the Kildare defence as a whole will be happy to have held Meath to just two points from play.
Truth be told, Meath were particularly poor again and having racked up their two wins in the campaign in their opening two games, taking just a point from the next five outings, they will approach the Championship in sombre mood.
“We finished with two wins and if you’re to get back to back wins at any stage then it’s better to get them at the end than at the start,” said Kildare manager Ryan who described it as a “disappointing” campaign overall following a fifth-place finish.
Meath, without hamstrung captain Donal Keogan, looked rudderless and nervous and only generated any sort of momentum in the final 20 minutes when substitute Donal Lenihan converted a series of frees.
The game was already up by then as Kildare, leading 0-8 to 0-3 at half-time, struck the first three points of the second-half through Jack Robinson, Paul Cribbin and Kirwan to essentially seal it.
Meath manager Colm O’Rourke said they have a “big issue” in defence and pointed to their “accuracy rate” at the other end of the field as “very poor throughout the whole league”.
O’Rourke stated that he will be picking a new squad for the Championship with the Royals set to face Longford or Offaly on April 23rd. Kildare will play Wicklow or Carlow the same day.
KILDARE: M Donnellan; M O’Grady, S Ryan, R Houlihan; D Hyland (0-1), K Flynn, J Sargent; A Masterson, K O’Callaghan; B Coffey, B McCormack, A Beirne; J Robinson (0-3, two frees, one mark), D Kirwan (0-5, one free), P Woodgate (0-2, one free).
Subs: P Cribbin (0-1) for Beirne (h/t), D Flynn for Robinson and J Hyland (0-1 free) for Woodgate (both 51 mins), K Feely for Masterson (53), P McDermott for Coffey (65).
MEATH: H Hogan; H O’Higgins, M Flood, A O’Neill; E Harkin, P Harnan, R Ryan; D McGowan, R Jones (0-1); J Flynn (0-1 free), M Costello (0-1 free), J Scully; A Lynch, D Moriarty, C O’Sullivan (0-1).
Subs: D Lenihan (0-4, all frees) for Lynch (29 mins), C Hickey for Harkin (32), J O’Connor for Flood (h/t), T O’Reilly for O’Sullivan (47), K Curtis for Moriarty (60).
Referee: J Gilmartin (Sligo).