Kildare celebrate long-awaited win and add to Dublin’s woes

Ryan’s men record first win over the metropolitans since 2000

Amid the latest aftershock from the earthquake that has hit Dublin footballers, further crockery fell from shuddering shelves. A record-equalling poor start to a league season became four matches without a win, only once before 'achieved,' 50 years ago.

It was a first competitive (league or championship) defeat by Kildare since 2000 and the first to any Leinster county since Meath in 2010.

A full house in St Conleth's Park, Newbridge were already filling the ground well over an hour before throw-in and they didn't go home disappointed. After a ropey opening, the home side hit their stride and competed brilliantly.

The cutting edge was provided by Daniel Flynn and Jimmy Hyland, former U20 footballer of the year, who ended the day with 1-5, just two points from frees. His goal in the 49th minute was the body blow from which Dublin couldn't recover, a fast reaction to a ball coming back off the bar.


The crowd generated championship atmosphere – if not quite heat on a stony cold February afternoon. They were rewarded with a performance that if not flawless was endlessly willing and which leaves the county in with a fighting chance of avoiding an immediate drop back to Division Two.

Glenn Ryan took over as manager in a potential crisis after Jack O’Connor heard the drums back in Kerry but his recruitment of team-mates from the county’s golden era at the turn of the century has produced a galvanising impact, as the team has proved itself able to compete with any opposition.

He was keeping the lid on any extravagant notions, refusing to discuss any implications for the championship.

“It was important we continue to try to play the way we’re playing. There’s no point throwing everything out the window just for the sake of a result. We’d like to think a lot of the reason why we got the result was the way we’re trying to play and if we can get results doing that, it’s easier to improve because it’s just a few tweaks.

“Thankfully not everything went out the window. We did a lot of good things and once we continue to do good things they’re the things you can improve on.”

Manager Dessie Farrell was impressively philosophical. He's been coping with injuries to a couple of front liners as well as a rest-home full of retirements while giving starts to a lot of new players.

When asked was he close to knowing his championship team, he acknowledged that bringing new players into a less than full-strength team environment is problematic.

“The remainder of the league will be very important for that. Having the return to play list that we’ve had, the amount of injuries, it has been difficult to explore combinations of players, different things like that. There is a bit of work for us to do in that regard.”

He’s not overstating the task. Fourteen months ago they were All-Ireland champions; now Dublin are the only county in the league with no points more than halfway through the season .

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times