O’Byrne Cup round one
Kildare made it two wins from two in the O'Byrne Cup with an encouraging rout of Offaly in the Faithful Fields outside Kilcormac on Thursday night.
The Lilywhites did all the hard running in a first half which they completely dominated, and the panache they showed going forward certainly bodes well for the future.
The Kildare attack clicked like a well-oiled machine throughout the first half as they drove at Offaly from all manner of angles and presented numerous different threats, kicking 1-14 to blow the hosts away. For a side that featured just five players who played championship football earlier this year, their fluency was seriously impressive.
Jimmy Hyland was once again the focal point, but Ben McCormack, Adam Tyrrell and Padraig Nash were all superb a little further away from goal for the Lilywhites. The latter of that trio was especially prominent in the early stages of his first senior start, summed up by his excellent steal off Cian Donohoe in the third minute.
Padraig Fogarty opened the scoring with a well struck ’45, before Hyland gave a glimpse into his box of tricks by feinting off his right before cracking over the first of his six points in the opening half. Offaly briefly threatened to make a game of it when the lively Johnny Maloney smacked over a couple of tidy scores, but the home side drifted out of it as they struggled around the middle and their attacks consistently broke down in the final third.
Hyland scored a point after taking an offensive mark, before Tyrrell boomed over his first of the night from the left wing to send Kildare clear, and further scores from Hyland and Eoghan O’Flaherty had Cian O’Neill’s side 0-6 to 0-2 clear 16 minutes in.
A couple of Shane Tierney frees kept Offaly in the hunt midway through the half, but the visitors tagged on 1-8 without response to seal the victory long before the short whistle. A lovely score from the hard working McCormack and another from Hyland fattened up the lead, before Nash showed great tenacity to ride a couple of challenges on the left and cut in to curl over his first senior point.
Hyland, McCormack and Tyrrell continued to punish John Maughan’s men with their clinical executions, and the former provided a moment of magic towards the end of the half as he sold a couple of lovely dummies to Niall Darby before splitting the posts from close range. The game was put beyond Offaly’s reach when they conceded a throw ball from their own kickout, and it was knocked in towards Fogarty who bundled it to the net from close range.
Leading by 1-14 to 0-4 at the turnaround, it gave Cian O’Neill the chance to make as many alterations as he wished.
Understandably, with all the changes that were to come, Kildare's play became somewhat disjointed as they struggled to replicate the verve that they displayed in the first half.
Offaly actually outscored them by a point over the next 35 minutes, and Kildare's attacks regularly broke down as they crossed halfway. Allen and Tierney swung over early points for the Faithful County, before half-time substitutes Fionn Dowling and David Malone responded, the latter kicking his first point in a Kildare jersey.
Kildare Club Footballer of the Year and U20 All-Ireland winning captain Aaron Masterson was the next player to make his debut for the Lilywhites, and he kicked a late score to mark the occasion. In between there were points for Tyrrell and O'Flaherty, while some excellent work from Brian McLoughlin set up Fogarty to add his first point from play of the night.
Overall it was a very encouraging outing for Kildare, and while the second half performance was a bit of a dip on the first, Cian O'Neill was very content with the display afterwards. Among the more impressive performers were DJ Earley, Jason Gibbons and Mark Barrett at the back, while Padraig Nash and Adam Tyrrell worked superbly together in the half-forward line. The only worry for O'Neill afterwards was a slight hamstring injury to Hyland, though the Kildare manager explained that his withdrawal was only precautionary.
Scorers for Kildare: J Hyland 0-6(2f, 1mf), P Fogarty 1-2(1'45), A Tyrrell 0-4(2f), B McCormack and E O'Flaherty 0-2 each, A Masterson, D Malone, F Dowling and P Nash 0-1 each.
Scorers for Offaly: S Tierney 0-5(3f), J Maloney 0-, B Allen 0-2(1f), A Sullivan 0-1.
Mark Donnellan; DJ Earley, Mark Barrett, John O’Toole; Jason Gibbons, James Murray, Keith Cribbin; Paul Cribbin, Tommy Moolick; Adam Tyrrell, Padraig Nash, Eoghan O’Flaherty; Jimmy Hyland, Ben McCormack, Padraig Fogarty.
Subs used: David Malone for K Cribbin, Fionn Dowling for P Cribbin, Brian McLoughlin for McCormack all HT, Neill Flynn for Hyland 38mins, Paschal Connell for O'Flaherty 44mins, Aaron Masterson for Moolick 48 mins, O'Flaherty for Nash 58mins, Moolick for Fogarty 62mins.
Barry Rohan; Declan Hogan, David Dempsey, Eoin Rigney; Cian Donohoe, Paul McConway, Joseph O'Connor; Cathal Mangan, Aaron Leavy; Nigel Bracken, Anton Sullivan, Ruari McNamee; Bernard Allen, Johnny Maloney, Shane Twomey.
Subs used: Mark Abbott for McNamee HT, Kyle Higgins for Mangan 45mins, Eoin Rigney for O'Connor 50mins.
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