David Slattery goals secure victory for Kildare
David Slattery in action for Kildare Photo: GAA.ie
Allianz Football League Division 2
Kildare 2-9 Down 0-10
By Jackie Cahill at Pairc Esler
Cian O’Neill’s Kildare took a giant step towards promotion with victory over Down at Páirc Esler this evening.
David Slattery came off the bench at half-time to score two goals and send the Lilywhites three points clear at the top of Division 2.
Kildare took the chance to pile the pressure on chasers Galway and Clare by claiming victory before their promotion rivals play.
For Down, this was a disappointing setback after two wins on the spin, and they’re now looking over their shoulders again, having harboured hopes of drawing level with Kildare at the top before throw-in.
In truth, this was a disappointing contest, particularly in the first half as Kildare played with the aid of a squally breeze.
At half-time, they were 0-4 to 0-3 clear, but the sides had managed just three points from play between them before the break.
Two of those were scored by Barry O’Hagan for Down, before his influence on the game diminished.
Kevin Feely knocked over a couple of vital frees for Kildare and goalkeeper Mark Donnellan opened their account from a ’45, having denied Ryan Johnston with a smart early save.
Photo by INPHO
But the game-changer was Slattery’s introduction and in the 37th minute, he finished low to the corner after Daniel Flynn and Feely had created the opening.
With 20 minutes remaining, Slattery struck again and it was another excellent finish from the Confey man.
Niall Kelly, industrious all night, made inroads and released Slattery with an excellent handpass.
Slattery still had work to do but he slipped a shot low past Michael Cunningham in the Down goal.
The hosts, playing in front of 1700 spectators, were up against it now and their task wasn’t made any easier by a black card for sub Alan Davidson, who wasn’t long on the pitch before his dismissal.
Caolan Mooney kicked a couple of lovely second half points but Down would finish the game with 13 men.
With all six subs used, defender Darren O’Hagan limped off injured to leave Down with 14 men.
And they were without the services of sub Jerome Johnston for the closing minutes, after he became the second player black-carded on the night.
For Kildare, this gritty victory is the type that should send spirits soaring in their camp.
Much of the heavy lifting is now done in this division but there’s still some work ahead before top flight football is secure.
For now, they’re moving very much in the right direction.
Scorers for Kildare: David Slattery 2-0, Kevin Feely 0-5f, Mark Donnellan (45), Ollie Lyons, Paul Cribbin & Tommy Moolick 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: Darragh O’Hanlon 0-4f, Caolan Mooney & Barry O’Hagan 0-2 each, Kevin McKernan & Jerome Johnston 0-1 each.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Mick O’Grady, David Hyland, Ollie Lyons; Johnny Byrne, Eoin Doyle, Keith Cribbin; Kevin Feely, Tommy Moolick; Fergal Conway, Niall Kelly, Paul Cribbin; Cathal McNally, Daniel Flynn, Conor Hartley. Subs: David Slattery for McNally (h.t.), Fionn Dowling for Hartley (54), Éamonn Callaghan for Slattery (65), Eddie Heavey for Moolick (68), Shea Ryan for Conway (70), Liam Healy for Doyle (70+5).
Down: Michael Cunningham; Ryan McAleenan, Brendan McArdle, Darren O’Hagan; Darragh O’Hanlon, Conaill McGovern, Coalan Mooney; Aidan Carr, Peter Turley; Kevin McKernan, Conor Maginn, Joe Murphy; Shay Millar, Barry O’Hagan, Ryan Johnston. Subs: Alan Davidson for Johnston (55), Niall Donnelly for Carr (57), Jerome Johnston for Davidson (b/c 63), Mark Poland for Maginn (66), Sean Dornan for Millar (69), Cathal Magee for Turley (69).
Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).