Kildare progress to O’Byrne Cup final despite missed opportunities
Déise shock Rebels to reach McGrath Cup final for first time in 12 years
Padraig Fogarty of KIldare during their victory over DIT. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Jason Ryan is pleased to have another game before the commencement of the league but will be looking for his Kildare side to be more clinical against Dublin in next week’s Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup final. The Lilywhites were 2-15 to 0-9 victors over DIT in Sunday’s semi-final encounter.
“It gives us something we need to work on” said the Waterford native afterwards. “It hasn’t been a major priority in training over the last few weeks but over the next few weeks it will become more and more important for us to be clinical when we turn over possession and when we attack.
“At the end of the year people aren’t going to be talking about the O’Byrne Cup. The big thing for us is the national league and then the championship.
“The players felt the best preparation for Down and Meath in our first two national league games was to have as extended a run in the O’Byrne Cup as possible and I suppose we are very different to this time last year.
“This time last year the team that played in the O’Byrne Cup had to be the team that started the championship because that was all that was fit and ready and available whereas now we have a lot of more choice and a lot more players available.”
The hosts thundered out of the blocks with the first six points of the game inside nine minutes and the result was never in doubt from that flurry on.
Eoghan O’Flaherty finished with a goal and four points and he got the scoring under way with an early free. Gary White, Eamon Murphy, O’Flaherty, Padraig Fogarty and Hugh Lynch added to tally with the scores from White, O’Flaherty and Lynch right out of the top drawer.
Conor Madden was DIT’s prime contributor with six points and he got the students off the mark from a free after 10 minutes. That launched a mini-revival and when Shane Dowling finished well for their fourth point in the 25th minute, the deficit was still only five.
Seamus Hanifin scored a brilliant goal in the 29th minute, showing tremendous bravery to gather an inch-perfect 30 metre kick-pass from O’Flaherty and then having the composure to find the DIT net with a low shot.
That helped make it 1-11 to 0-5 at half time and though Madden had two points not long after the resumption, it was all over when O’Flaherty found the net in the 43rd minute with a deflected shot.
Meanwhile in Munster we had the first major shock of the season as Waterford dumped Cork out of the McGrath to qualify for their first final since 2002 - winning 0-08 to 0-07.
If one of the 337 in attendance had arrived from Mars at the Clashmore venue they would have assumed that the team wearing white and blue were the Division 1 side. Waterford, who had former senior hurler Liam Lawlor orchestrating play as a third midfielder, were first on the scoreboard with two Shane Ahearne frees. Cork finally opened their account after 19 minutes when Dan McNeill pointed via a close in free. McNeill had Cork on level terms with his second after 27 minutes but it was the home side who finished the half stronger with points from Patrick Hurney and Michael O’Halloran to leave them leading 0-4 to 0-2 at the break.
Cork manager Brian Cuthbert rang the changes at half time with Colm O’Neill, Donncha O’Connor and Colm O’Driscoll all being introduced. Nonetheless it was Waterford who continued to dominate and two fine points from full forward Gavin Nugent had them leading 0-6 to 0-2 after 42 minutes.
Cork eventually warmed to the task and their pressure yielded three pointed frees on the trot from substitutes Colm O’Neill and two from Donncha O’Connor.
Michael O’Halloran with is second point from play pushed Waterford’s lead back out to two after 56 minutes only for Mark Collins to set up a dramatic finale after scoring Cork’s only score from play.
Another Shane Ahearne pointed free was cancelled out by a Colm O’Neill score on 65 minutes although a minute later the same player spurned a great chance to send the game into extra time when he was wide with a 20 metre free.