Preview: Two major contenders set to fall by the wayside in intriguing Kildare SFC quarter-final clashes today

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Preview: Two major contenders set to fall by the wayside in intriguing Kildare SFC quarter-final clashes today
10:15 Sunday 23rd of September 2018

Johnstownbridge v Moorefield

The rather bizarre nature of the revamped Kildare Senior Football Championship means that these two sides will be meeting just two weeks on from their previous encounter in the group stage. On that occasion it was Moorefield who ran out very comfortable winners despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise, and it is difficult to see what might have changed since.

Johnstownbridge had to go through a preliminary quarter-final against Round Towers, and while they got over that hurdle, they weren’t all that convincing. It may be a moot point, but take the couple of goals that Niall Vaughan plundered for the victors, and there wasn’t all that much between the sides. Johnstownbridge were riding high on confidence when they met Moorefield last time out, but their attack was largely ineffective and their defence didn’t have to deal with the likes of Niall Hurley-Lynch, Eanna O’Connor and David Whyte from the start.

Johnstownbridge will probably need a few goals to win this game, and they certainly have the capability to get them through Daniel Flynn and Niall Vaughan. Flynn wasn’t his normal self when deployed at wing-forward last time out, so it will be interesting to see if he is restored to the focal point of the attack.

There is very little else to be said about a Moorefield side who have been nigh on impossible to beat in Kildare club football since the start of 2017. Their main players have all been gradually welcomed back into the team, and if anything the reigning champions will only get stronger as the year goes on.

This seems a tall order for Johnstownbridge, but if they can get by Moorefield they will rightly be considered favourites for the championship.

Verdict: Moorefield

Athy v Sarsfields

One of the early favourites for the competition will be vanquished come Sunday evening, and whoever comes out of this game will likely have a massive spring in their step going into the semi-final.

Athy were one of the standout teams in the group stages, being just one of three teams to win all their games as they never really looked in any bother against Leixlip, Round Towers or Carbury. Their win over the latter was perhaps the standout performance of any team in the championship so far.

Considering they already had top spot in their group secured before they faced Leixlip, manager Emmanuel Kennedy was able to rest Kevin Feely after a long season with Kildare. Feely and Pascal Connell should have enough to wrestle control of the middle third, and from there it is up to the likes of Niall Kelly and Liam McGovern to shoot the lights out up front.

The way the Athy backline measures up against the Sarsfields forward line will be massively interesting. Alan Smith and Dan Nea both missed the win over Maynooth through injury, and if they miss out here it’s hard to see where the firepower will come from outside of Ben McCormack.

The 2015 and 2016 champions have been some distance short of their best this year, and if they don’t have their best 15 on the pitch once again it is hard to see them advancing here.

Verdict: Athy

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