Kildare win as they please to seal their place in the Super 8s
An 11-point interval lead is the platform for a comfortable win over Fermanagh in Navan
Neil Flynn of Kildare celebrates scoring a goal in Navan. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Kildare 3-20 Fermanagh 0-18
Kildare won as they pleased at Navan to secure a place in the Super 8 phase of the All Ireland Football Championship. Their victory was founded on athleticism, intelligent running and using the full dimensions of the Navan pitch, while they also worked the ball with purpose to create and exploit space.
They were good to watch, even though it was largely a bloodless coup, given the absence generally speaking of a physical intensity in the tackle.
Fermanagh managed just five points in the first half and although they were more accurate after the interval tagging on 13 points, it was largely because their opponents has eased back on the throttle and removed several of their key players.
An 11-point interval lead, 1-13 to 0-5, was a fair reflection of Kildare’s dominance albeit that Fermanagh’s shooting was lamentably wayward, kicking five wides, four of which might be classed as poor.
Kildare’s movement off the ball was excellent in the opening 35-minutes both in the timing of runs and passes. Time and again players came from deep to offer an option to a teammate in possession and for the most part they went unnoticed.
There was a fluency to the way that Kildare worked the ball, using the full expanse of the pitch, and there was a patience in the manner in which they worked their opportunities, whether sending the ball in direct or working around the fringes before placing a free man in a corridor of space.
Kevin Flynn typified this enthusiasm and energy and was rewarded with a couple of points in the first half. Indeed the surname Flynn was something of a scourge for Fermanagh as Daniel Flynn and Neil Flynn kicked 1-5 between them.
The goal coming after six minutes as Daniel Flynn fielded a long ball that dropped just outside the square, shrugged off one defender, sidestepped another and slid the ball past Patrick Cadden in the Fermanagh goal.
Four of the starting forward line scored in the first half, both midfielders Tommy Moolick and Kevin Feely while Kevin Flynn added a brace of points. Fermanagh manager Rory Gallagher made three late changes starting Daniel Teague, Tom Clarke and Ruairi Corrigan but he had to reverse one of those with the introduction of Kane Connor after 23 minutes.
Seamus Quigley kicked three points, two from frees but Fermanagh’s work ethic wasn’t matched by accuracy and they were guilty of panicking in possession at times. To their credit they improved after the interval and before Kildare substitute Chris Healy’s late goal were outscoring their opponents, albeit against a Kildare side that was in wind down mode to a degree.
The Quigleys, Sean and Seamus, kept the scoreboard ticking over, so too Tomas Corrigan, eating into the huge buffer that Kildare had built up in the first half. Kildare sporadically raised the quality of their performance, in particular the build-up to Neil Flynn’s goal on 40 minutes; it epitomised the team’s best virtues, the angles of running and the timing of the pass.
Kildare’s third goal came in the fifth minute of stoppage time at the end of the game and all it served to do was offer a symmetry in that at the half-time and full-time whistles they led by 11 points. Much tougher days lie ahead.
Kildare: 1 Mark Donnellan; 2 Peter Kelly (0-1), 3 David Hyland, 4 Mick O’Grady; 5 Johnny Byrne, 6 Eoin Doyle, 7 Kevin Flynn (0-2); 8 Kevin Feely (0-1), 9 Tommy Moolick (0-1); 10 Fergal Conway (0-1), 11 Paul Cribbin (0-1), 12 Keith Cribbin (0-1); 13 Neil Flynn (1-4, two frees), 14 Daniel Flynn (1-3), 15 Paddy Brophy (0-3).
Fermanagh: 1 Patrick Cadden; 22 Daniel Teague, 3 C Cullen, 4 Michael Jones; 5 Barry Mulrone (0-1), 6 James McMahon (0-1), 7 L Cullen; 8 Eoin Donnelly, 9 Ryan Jones (0-2); 20 Tom Clarke, 11 D McCusker (0-1); 12 A Breen; 21 Ruairi Corrigan (0-1), 13 Conall Jones, 15 Seamus Quigley (0-7, six frees). Subs: 2 Kane Connors for Teague 23 mins; Thomas Corrigan (0-2) for Breen 31 mins; Ryan Lyons for Jones half-time; Paul Cusker for Clarke 43 mins; Sean Quigley (0-3) for R Corrigan 43 mins.
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)