DUBLIN manager Dessie Farrell claims there’s something about Kildare this year as he fears that Dublin’s stranglehold on the Leinster title will come under pressure from Glenn Ryan’s Lilywhites on Saturday
Victories for both of this season’s relegated Division 1 sides in the Leinster SFC semi-finals put them on a collision course in the provincial decider for the third time in six years.
The Dubs are favourites to lift the Delaney Cup for the 12th straight year after dismissing Meath on a 1-27 to 1-14 scoreline, having led by 15 points at the break at Croke Park.
On the evidence of the opening wins in the province over Wexford and Meath, Dublin are motoring along better than in 2021.
“It’s fairly fickle,” cautioned Farrell on Dublin’s favouritism. “On the face of it that would be a fair statement and I’d have to agree.
“But talk to us in two weeks’ time and we’ll tell you where we’re at then. For us, it’s about bringing that level of consistency day on day and we need to do that.
“It’s always difficult to judge when there is a bit of a difference between the two teams there – it’s hard to know whether it flatters us, were we very good today and Meath had an off day.
“There are definitely elements of the performance you can look into, put there is a lot you probably need to discard as well.”
Kildare should return to Croke Park determined to put in a big performance, having beaten the Dubs during the League in Newbridge, albeit a number of senior Blues men have since returned, including skipper James McCarthy and Con O’Callaghan.
“There’s a lot of relevance (to Kildare’s early year form),” said Farrell. “There’s a lot of momentum behind Kildare football at the minute.
“The backroom team there are icons in the county. Every supporter in the county I’d imagine is the delighted with who’s in charge and what’s at the helm.
“The players are playing with great passion and pride in their jersey. It’s a proud county, always has been traditionally.
“There’s definitely something about Kildare this year. We played them in the League and they probably beat us quite comfortably down in Newbridge, so that’s definitely a marker for us.
“Kildare will be coming here with high expectations in two weeks time, there’s no doubt about that.
“Very potent up front, very athletic all over the pitch, seem to be solid in defence as well.
“It’s going to be a major step up in class and one we need to be ready for.
“We’re looking forward to it, of course, and it’ll be a great occasion.”
There are rumours that Davy Byrne and Robbie McDaid may not return for Dublin this season, but Farrell struck a more positive note.
“Davy has a knee injury so he’s rehabbing at the minute,” he said. “We’re hopeful and optimistic.
“We’ll be working hard with Davy and with a couple of others that we had today as well to get them back in fray.”
Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin in action against Meath’s Donal Keogan during the Leinster semi-final at Croke Park last Sunday. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
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