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Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup semi-final : Kildare v Offaly

posted 14 Jan 2012, 05:01 by Unknown user
Sunday 15th January Newbridge 2pm
Kildare meet Offaly in Sunday’s Bord Na Mona O’Byrne Cup quarter final at St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge with two early season wins under their belt, having easily overcome D.I.T in the opening round and earlier had a good workout when defeating their own Under 21 side in a challenge.

Kieran McGeeney has re-appointed 34 years old John Doyle as his captain for another season, and remains a vital cog in Kildare’s quest for League and Championship honours. He was one of the first players to re-commit to the county’s cause this year and though he did not play any part last Sunday, when he was a substitute it is quite likely that he will see early season action against the Faithful County. McGeeney was not entirely satisfied with last week’s showing : “I was probably just disappointed that we didn’t put more scores on the board,” he said.

Doyle, a 2010 All Star, was a big loss to Kildare when he was out for much of last season due to injury and even though now 34, remains one of their key players. Eamonn Callaghan will again act as Vice-Captain but for McGeeney Sunday’s fixture is an important part of the build up towards not only the defence of their O’Byrne Cup crown but also in the build up to their opening League clash with Tyrone , now part of a double header at Croke Park on 4 February as well as the Dublin-Kerry clash.

From a a Kildare viewpoint McGeeney is rather more concerned with performance than results at this stage of their preparation, though he will want his charges to win on Sunday of course.

Offaly will present a good challenge to the Kildare men on Sunday as they had a pretty impressive outing last weekend in Tullamore when they overcame Westmeath 3- 6 to 0-7 and as always when these teams meet will expect to be ‘up for the challenge’ against the Lilywhites . They are though still without a few key players again this weekend though as McGeeney quipped to the “Kildare Nationalist” : I’m sure they’ll be up for it. It’s hard to know what team they’ll put out but I’m sure they’ll like to get stuck into Kildare. They always do, Offaly men.”

He won’t be surprised to hear that after last week, Gerry Cooney has opted for an unchanged Offaly side for Sunday with former goalkeeper Alan Mulhall remaining in the full forward line having notched 2-2 against the Lakesiders. They did go though without scoring in one 25 minutes spell against Westmeath and any repeat of that here would be severely punished by Kildare.

Offaly: Team: K.Meehan, J.Gallagher, P.McConway, S.Pender, J.Keane, B.Darby, L.Hiney,R.Dalton,R.Brady, G.Guilfoyle,N.Dunne,A.Keenaghan,W.Mulhall, A.Mulhall, K.Casey