By Robert Cribbin
Kildare produced a brilliant performance to seal their place in the Super 8s as they ruthlessly dispatched of Fermanagh in Pairc Tailteann on Saturday Evening.
It’s a far cry from six weeks ago when Kildare’s season looked to be dead and buried after defeat to Carlow but they have found themselves with victories over Derry, Longford, Mayo and now Fermanagh.
The whole Newbridge or Nowhere debacle for the Mayo game really seemed to be the catalyst and Cian O’Neill’s team are flying now.
It was a game they never lost the lead in as the likes of Neil Flynn and Daniel Flynn ran riot particularly in a first half where Kildare made bits of the Northerners blanket defence.
The two inside forwards scored two very different but brilliant goals while Chris Healy added the third goal late on as not for the first time in this run he made a big impact from the bench.
Keith Cribbin kicked Kildare ahead early on and even though Eoin Donnelly had a shot rattle off the crossbar it was the Lillywhites who went 0-3 to 0-1 clear with scores from Neil Flynn and Paul Cribbin.
Ryan Jones got a point back but in the 7th minute it was the Johnstownbridge Flynn who was on target as he caught a looping Fergal Conway ball into the square and the full forward worked his way round a couple of defenders before placing a shot to the net.
That put Kildare 1-4 to 0-2 ahead and if it wasn’t for Patrick Cadden saving a Keith Cribbin shot the game would have been done after ten minutes.
As it was though Kildare didn’t have to wait long to put the seal on it though as after Seamus Quigley and Declan McCusker found the target, Kildare replied in style with Neil Flynn, Kevin Flynn, Kevin Feely, Paddy Brophy and Tommy Moolick all scoring before the break as Kildare pushed 1-13 to 0-5 ahead.
The teams shared scores at the start of the second half with efforts from Daniel Flynn and Peter Kelly for Kildare being cancelled out by Seamus Quigley and Ruairi Corrigan for the Erne county.
Any doubt about the victory was quashed in the 43rd minute when Kildare scored a fantastic team goal where Tommy Moolick brilliantly flicked a ball into space for team captain Eoin Doyle and instead of shooting the Naas man laid off for Neil Flynn to palm to an empty net.
That gave Kildare a 2-15 to 0-8 lead and in truth they went through the motions afterwards with the likes of Kevin Feely, Neil Flynn and Daniel Flynn all being taken off ahead of fresh challenges.
To be fair to Fermanagh they kept plugging away with the two Corrigans as well as sub Sean Quigley having a late impact.
Kildare themselves had an impact from their bench as Chris Healy came on to score 1-2 which included a lovely dinked left footed goal past Patrick Cadden.
Fergal Conway and Paddy Brophy also got in on the act late on as Kildare cruised to a 3-20 to 0-18 victory.
Kildare will begin their Super 8 campaign with a game against Monaghan in Croke Park next weekend.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Peter Kelly 0-1, David Hyland, Mick O’Grady, Johnny Byrne, Eoin Doyle, Kevin Flynn 0-2, Kevin Feely 0-1, Tommy Moolick 0-1, Fergal Conway 0-1, Paul Cribbin 0-1, Keith Cribbin 0-1, Neil Flynn 1-5 (0-3fs), Daniel Flynn 1-3, Paddy Brophy 0-2. Subs: Fionn Dowling for Moolick 43 mins, Chris Healy 1-2 for Feely 45 mins, Niall Kelly for Paul Cribbin 48 mins, David Slattery for Keith Cribbin 51 mins, Eamonn Callaghan for Daniel Flynn 54 mins, Mark Hyland for Neil Flynn 62 mins.
Fermanagh: Patrick Cadden; Daniel Teague, Che Cullen, Michael Jones, Barry Mulrone, James McMahon 0-1, Lee Cullen, Eoin Donnelly, Ryan Jones 0-2, Tom Clarke, Declan McCusker 0-1, Aidan Breen, Ruairi Corrigan 0-1, Conall Jones, Seamus Quigley 0-8 (0-6fs). Subs: Kane Connor for Teague 23 mins, Tomas Corrigan 0-2 for Breen 32 mins, Ryan Lyons for Conall Jones h-t, Paul McCusker for Clarke 43 mins, Sean Quigley 0-3 for Ruairi Corrigan 45 mins, Conor McGee for Mulrone 59 mins.
Ref: Conor Lane (Cork)