Offaly will have to make the most of their home advantage if they are to overcome a well regarded Kildare side on Saturday in the quarter final of the Leinster Minor football Championship.
Offaly, who last won a minor Leinster title in 1989, opened their campaign with a 3-7 to 1-9 win over Wicklow in Aughrim. Goals from Niall Wynne, Aaron McDonagh, who was a member of the Gallen CS team that won All Ireland Champions Vocational Schools Senior Football and Brian Grehan, sealed a 4 point win.
Peter Cunningham was impressive that day with 3 points as well as having a hand in all three goals and Offaly will be looking for a repeat performance from the corner forward while another Gallen man; Conor Lowry also caught the eye at full back.
Kildare meanwhile have won 5 Leinster Minor titles but their last was in 1991 but were impressive in their 1-15 to 0-8 point win over Longford in the last round. Gavin Farrell and Daniel Flynn were impressive for the Lilywhites that day although the loss of Athy’s Tony Gibbons with an arm injury was a blow to their hopes.
Kildare selector Mick Hoban believes that the Tullamore pitch may actually aid his side’s cause.
“It’s a smashing pitch and it’s a nice wide pitch. For a team who likes to play football it’s a good venue”, he told the Kildare Nationalist.
Much was made of the Kildare county board’s decision to allow minor players to tog out in the senior club championship last weekend ahead of this fixture but thankfully all involved have returned injury free.
Kildare will head into this game as firm favourites to come out on top and set up a tantalising fixture with favourites Dublin, should they beat Longford in their quarter final.