Derry vs Kildare in Christy Ring Hurling preview & live score updates, Celtic Park, Saturday, 2.30pm.
Kildare bid to get their campaign in the Christy Ring off to a flying start by naming a strong line-up against Derry for this Saturday’s first round clash at Celtic Park.
Fiachra Ó Muineachán will be hoping to inspire his Lilywhites from the back as he leads his team against the Ulstermen with Danny Butler (Cill Droichid) and Gavin Tynan (Claonadh) given the responsibility of anchoring the midfield.
No fewer than eight Cill Droichid men line up for Kildare on Saturday, four of which start in the forward line, ably backed up by Paul Divilly (Confai) and Martin Fitzgerald (Ard Cloch).
Willie Sunderland’s men will play direct and has brought in several of the Under-21 team to add a bit of bite around the park but the Kildare team is mainly built on experienced players and hope to be able to make that experience count.
Sunderland hopes his players can build on their Division 2A success but must be aware that despite their wins, they were far from convincing and had a few fortunate breaks go their way, particularly against Meath.
Many are expecting Derry to turn up to Celtic Park to make up the numbers. However, they will be buoyed by Kildare’s recent misfirings up front and will bring a noticeable ferocity around the park.
Boosted by the return of Sean McCullagh from Australia, Ger Rogan’s men will also have to cope without the influential Hinphey brothers, Liam due to injury, Kevin due to marriage preparations. Paddy Kelly’s versatility could be key as no doubt the free kick abilities of Kevin Lynch will be in keeping in his team in touch with the opposition.
They will also be cognisant that Kildare were beaten by a 14-man Dublin side and only narrowly beat a Meath side who did not take advantage of their own chances.