Sports

Kildare tie has added spice for McGeeney

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Kildare tie has added spice for McGeeney thumbnail

THIS Saturday evening at 7pm, Armagh face Kildare in the feature game of a double-header, Round 4B All-Ireland Qualifier. The prize for the winner is a lucrative last eight All-Ireland quarter-final tie with either Dublin or Tyrone.
And for boss Kieran McGeeney it will be a return to the place where he cut his managerial teeth from 2010 through until 2016. No doubt a victory for Armagh would be as sweet as they come for 'Geezer'.
But first things first! Kildare will start Saturday's game as firm, if not overwhelming favourites, given their form this year when compared with Armagh.
Kildare had a successful National League finishing second behind Galway in Division Two and thus promoted to Division One, winning five out of their seven games.
While Armagh will be buoyant and confident going into the Kildare game, the Lilywhites will also be extremely confident and confident given how well they played against Dublin and their standard of play in that game will serve as a warning to Armagh not to underestimate them, eg, Kildare became the first Leinster side to come within 10 points of this Dublin since Meath in the 2013 Leinster final. Kildare's tally of 20 points total (1-17) was also the same as Kerry managed in last year's semi-final meaning it was the most since Donegal hit them for 3-14 in that famous All-Ireland semi-final in 2014.
In the Dublin game they never wilted and Dublin only really hurt them in the first five or six minutes of the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second. In the first 10 minutes Kildare leaked 2-3 to 0-1 but over the 67-odd minutes of play, Kildare only lost by 0-20 to 1-16, that's a single point difference.
This season Kildare will hurt Armagh if allowed to play their pacy, expressive and expansive game, ideally suited to Croke Park. They are a very young team who are superbly conditioned (Armagh's Jason McGahan who worked with Cian O'Neill in Kerry is part of the back-room staff) and are very tall and skilful.
Kildare are vulnerable in the earlier stages of each half seemingly unable to settle into rhythm quickly - a situation Armagh should consider strongly by forcing them to have to chase a lead. Goal chances against Dublin and other teams this year have gone a-begging as they 'insist' on blasting at a good height for the 'keeper to dive for on straight at the 'keeper. Unlike Dublin and Jamie Clarke, they are not noted for low volleys passed to the corner of the net - a goalkeeper's nightmare.
Kildare are, however, sweating on the availability of Eoin Doyle and Kevin Feely with Doyle hammered by a thumb injury received against Dublin. Feely's case is more problematic as he picked up his third black card of the season against Dublin which means a one match suspension that rules him out of the Armagh game. Kildare may appeal one of those three cautions with the other two having come during the League.
As for team selection, that responsibility is definitely in the hands of the respective managers and I don't expect, barring injury, that either will change the starting 15 of their last game.

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