Dublin: 1°C Monday 17 January 2022

Kildare triumph against Offaly in Leinster SFC quarter-final in Croke Park

The Lilywhites won out in the first of today’s Leinster senior football quarter-finals in Croke Park.

Offaly's Johnny Brickland and Brian Darby with Daniel Flynn of Kildare.
Offaly's Johnny Brickland and Brian Darby with Daniel Flynn of Kildare.
Image: iNPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kildare 0-19
Offaly 1-12

A strong second-half display was enough to see Kildare past Offaly in their Leinster senior football quarter-final this evening at Croke Park.

The game was tightly balanced for long stages and in the 44th minute Niall McNamee fired over a stylish point for Offaly to cut the gap to 0-12 to 0-10.

However Kildare then took over to string together the next six points of the game without reply. By the time Offaly scored again in the 65th minute through substitute Niall Darby, they were trailing by 0-18 to 0-11.

The Faithful did grab the only goal of the game late on when championship debutant David Hanlon struck a penalty to the net but substitute Seanie Johnston added the insurance point for Kildare to round off the game.

The game saw history made at Croke Park when the score detection technology Hawkeye was used for the first time in a GAA match. Offaly substitute Peter Cunningham’s shot in the 47th minute required the use of Hawkeye before it was demonstrated on the big screen that the shot was wide.

Kildare will have been pleased to surmount this challenge with the attacking class of Johnny Doyle and Eoghan O’Flaherty extremely important while U21′s Niall Kelly and Daniel Flynn impressed as they chalked up seven points between them on their championship debuts.

Offaly will be heartened by their showing as they were highly competitive. Twelve months ago they were convincingly beaten by 13 points by Kildare at this stage of the championship but Emmet McDonnell’s side closed the gap notably here with Niall McNamee and Ken Casey impressing up front for them.

Kildare had held the upper hand by three points at half-time, 0-10 to 0-7. The opening period was tightly balanced for long stages but Kildare notched three of the last four points of the half to forge ahead.

The class of the experienced Doyle surfaced during the first-half for Kildare. He offered direction up front by notching some exceptional points for Kieran McGeeney’s side.

Offaly’s Paul McConway with John Doyle of Kildare
Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

O’Flaherty also offered good support for Kildare in the scoring stakes as he has weighed in with three first-half points while U21 star Kelly enjoyed a strong closing period to the first-half when he raised two white flags.

Offaly did demonstrate a capacity to shine up front early on with Niall McNamee giving Kildare’s Michael Foley difficult moments while Graham Guilfoyle and Alan McNamee notched beautiful points from distance.

Offaly were thankful for the intervention of goalkeeper Alan Mulhall in the 23rd minute when he did superbly to acrobatically tip a goal bound flick by Eoghan O’Flaherty over the bar.

The second-half opened in a competitive fashion as the teams traded points but then Kildare increased the tempo midway through the half to power clear and run out winners by a four-point margin.

Offaly’s Michael Brazil and Tomas O’Connor of Kildare
Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Scorers for Kildare: Johnny Doyle 0-6 (0-3f), Niall Kelly, Eoghan O’Flaherty 0-4 each, Daniel Flynn 0-3, Paul Cribbin, Seanie Johnston 0-1.
Scorers for Offaly: Niall McNamee, Ken Casey (0-2f) 0-4 each, David Hanlon 1-0 Alan Mulhall (0-1 ’45), Graham Guilfoyle, Alan McNamee, Niall Darby 0-1 each.

KILDARE: Mark Donnellan (Maynooth); Peter Kelly (Two Mile House), Michael Foley (Athy), Hugh McGrillen (Celbridge); Ollie Lyons (Celbridge), Eamonn Callaghan (Naas), Emmet Bolton (Eadestown); Daryl Flynn (Moorefield), Daniel Flynn (Johnstownbridge); Paul Cribbin (Johnstownbridge), Niall Kelly (Athy), Eoghan O’Flaherty (Carbury); Johnny Doyle (Allenwood), Tomás O’Connor (Clane), Paddy Brophy (Celbridge).

Subs: Fionn Dowling (Suncroft) for Brophy (47), Seanie Johnston (St Kevin’s) for O’Connor (55), Morgan O’Flaherty (Carbury) for O’Flaherty (60), David Hyland (Athy) for Bolton (64), Robert Kelly (Straffan) for Daryl Flynn (64).

OFFALY: Alan Mulhall (Walsh Island); Brian Darby (Rhode), Paul McConway (Tullamore), Daithi Brady (Ballyfore); Eoin Carroll (Cappincur), Shane Sullivan (Rhode), Michael Brazil (Tullamore); Alan McNamee (Rhode), Brian Connor (Walsh Island); Graham Guilfoyle (Clara), Johnny Brickland (St Brigid’s), David Hanlon (Edenderry); Anton Sullivan (Rhode), Niall McNamee (Rhode), Ken Casey (St Brigid’s).

Subs: Peter Cunningham (Bracknagh) for Carroll (27), Niall Darby (Rhode) for Brazil (46), Johnny Moloney (Tullamore) for Connor (52), Ruairi Allen (Gracefield) for Brickland (55), Paul McPadden (Rhode) for Sullivan (60).

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)

23 signs that you’re an Offaly sports fan

Kildare’s Doyle sad at the retirement of his ‘good buddy’ Earley

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

Read next: