Kildare and Kerry meet in Newbridge on Sunday at 2pm, in the Third Round of the Allianz National Football League. This is a crucial game for two sides that have very different aspirations as far as this season’s competition is concerned.
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The hosts sit just behind Dublin at the top of Division One, having been successful on both outings to date this year. Their opponents find themselves in the unusual position of being one of the favourites for relegation, after two defeats from two matches.
Kildare have made a dream start to life in the top flight. Last season’s promoted side beat All Ireland champions Donegal in their first match, then followed up with a four point defeat of league champions, Cork. Kieran McGeeney was certainly one inter county manager that did not welcome the winter break, as it may have upset the momentum his team had been building up in recent weeks. A visit from Kerry is always a big draw for any side, and despite their current woes, Kildare fans would still see a win on Sunday as a major scalp.
The Kingdom are a side in transition at present and with a number of players still missing, it is perhaps a little early to be writing off their championship chances. The league is a different matter however, and Division Two football could look a real possibility should Kildare take the points on Sunday.
Kerry have made a number of changes for this crucial game, with Shane Enright, Kieran Donaghy, Donnchadh Walsh and Dr Crokes trio Eoin Brosnan, Johnny Buckley and Kieran O’Leary all called into action. Kildare have made four changes to their last selection, with Hugh Lynch, Eoin Doyle, Niall Kelly and Tomas O’Connor all starting.
Players To Watch
Kieran Donaghty is selected at midfield for Kerry, a position he has always looked at home in. If this trail proves to be a success, it will open up many doors for management later in the season. Seanie Johnston has been showing why Kildare went to so much trouble to get him, and he can make life difficult for Kerry this Sunday.
In a must win game for both sides there will be no quarter asked or given. Kerry are slight underdogs and with the bigger players selected this weekend they may finally pick up some much needed points. At 6/5 they are given the verdict.