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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 22 February, 2019

The power of momentum, dominant Daniel Flynn and Galway coming to Newbridge

5 talking points after Kildare sealed their place in the Super 8s with a convincing win over Fermanagh.

Kevin O’Brien reports from Pairc Tailteann, Navan

1. Kildare make the Super 8s

KILDARE HAVE BECOME the seventh team to seal their place in the inaugural Super 8s and yesterday’s win over Fermanagh guarantees them an extra three games at the height of the inter-county season.

Neil Flynn and Kevin Feely celebrate after the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Cian O’Neill’s outfit will return action next Sunday for their fourth game in five weeks. They’ll begin the All-Ireland quarter-final group stage in Croke Park against winners of today’s Laois-Monaghan tie before they play Galway at home and visit Kerry in Killarney.

GAA president John Horan confirmed last Monday that St Conleth’s Park will be deemed a suitable home venue for Kildare in the Super 8s, so a visit to Newbridge is on the cards for Galway. Here’s how Kildare’s fixtures look:

Round 1 – 15 July
Kildare v Laois/Monaghan, Croke Park

Round 2 - 21/22 July
Kildare v Galway, Newbridge

Round 3 - 4/5/6 August
Kerry v Kildare, Killarney

2. Power of momentum 

It’s remarkable to think that only six short weeks ago, Kildare slumped to a confidence-sapping seven-point defeat to Carlow.

Credit to the Lilywhites, they’ve responded from that major setback and the criticism that followed by beating Derry, Longford, Mayo and Fermanagh in the qualifiers over the space of five weeks.

Kildare played with real abandon and attacking flair against Fermanagh, following up their win over Mayo with another big result and performance. After snapping a losing run that lasted almost a year, they’re playing without fear once again. That inner belief will be important as the championship quickens pace.

3. Kildare getting better tactically

O’Neill appears to have found the right balance in his team, with Neil Flynn and Daniel Flynn operating as a perfect ‘little and large’ combination in the full-forward line.

Kildare’s middle eight is packed with outstanding athletes. Kevin Flynn has developed into a fine attacking wing-back and kicked another two points today.

Centre-back Eoin Doyle was Kildare’s spare defender but O’Neill encouraged to pick his moments to dart forward and he contributed two goal chances, the second of which was converted by Neil Flynn.

And the rest of the Kildare attack kept its width and patiently probed for gaps in the Fermanagh rearguard with smart angles of running. Unlike their game against Carlow when O’Neill reckons their conversion rate was at 34%, they took their scoring chances against Fermanagh.

Ryan McMenamin and manager Rory Gallagher react late in the match Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

4. Disappointing Fermanagh

As good as Kildare were, Fermanagh didn’t look anything like the team that dumped Armagh and Monaghan out in Ulster.

Clearly still reeling from their heavy provincial final beating from Donegal, Fermanagh defended with 14 men behind the ball for most of the game yet conceded 3-20.

Their tackling and aggressive was non-existent defensively and apart from Barry Mulrone who continued to drive forward with the ball, their build-up play was slow and predictable.

After 52 minutes, Fermanagh were 14 points down and while they scored eight points from then until the finish, the game was long over at that stage. Quigley brothers Sean and Seamus scored 0-11 of Fermanagh’s tally between them and the Ernesiders were a little too reliant on them.

Fermanagh’s season is over but gaining promotion to Division 2 and making the Ulster final will still be seen as major progress.

Daniel Flynn claims a high ball to score a goal Daniel Flynn claims a high ball to score a goal Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

5. Daniel Flynn performance

It feels like Daniel Flynn has taken a serious leap forward over the last few weeks. He’s been a player who’s always looked capable of taking his game to an All-Star level, but he needed to work on his decision making and end product.

Experimentation with Flynn out the field seems to be over and he’s found his home at full-forward. He posted 1-3 from four shots today, including one stunning point off his weaker left foot in the second-half.

Flynn would usually opt for power when goal opportunities presented themselves, but his placed finish today highlights a growing maturity in his game.

He has become more consistent in front of the posts this season, with 3-10 to his name after five games this summer.

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Kevin O'Brien

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