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‘I never doubted them but we had to leave our demons behind us’ – Glenn Ryan on Kildare’s sensational start

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Kildare manager Glenn Ryan was happy that the Lilywhites found their shooting boots. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

There were demons that Kildare needed to exorcise after a disastrous season so far and Lilies boss Glenn Ryan was delighted to see his side finally put their best foot forward in a whopping Tailteann Cup victory over Longford yesterday.

Kildare had just one victory from nine competitive games before this weekend’s all-Leinster clash and this was one that they badly needed to firmly get the train back on tracks.

They limped out of the Leinster SFC having left a heap of chances behind them in their semi-final defeat to Louth a fortnight ago but this was champagne football as they prevailed 3-25 to 1-11 in Hawkfield with Paddy McDermott (2-1) and Darragh Kirwan (0-6) excelling.

“There’s no rocket science to it, we had 80 per cent shooting conversion rate today, 17 out of 19 shots in the first half. When you get your shooting boots on it makes an awful difference,” Ryan said of a scintillating performance that included 13 different scorers.

“I think I said after the Louth game that it was going to be difficult to get ourselves right for this and it was hard work on the players’ part to get the application right, they really knuckled down.

“It was going to take a performance just to prove to each other that we’re ready and where we need to be to make an assault on this, which is our All-Ireland. They really showed that today.”

Ryan insists that there was “no silver bullet” as to why things clicked against a county he managed for five seasons (2009-2013), it was a case of just keeping the foot to the floor.

“I wouldn’t say I thought it was going to be a struggle but I thought it was going to be a test,” Ryan said of lifting things for an assault on the second-tier championship.

“Every Tuesday night we’d come in after defeats in the league and after the Louth game, these fellas have always shown that there’s a willingness there and an enthusiasm to continue to do the work to try and get performances on each occasion.

“I never doubted them but we still had to go out and prove to ourselves that we had left our demons behind us and that we were ready for the challenge ahead. That’s what we really needed to see tonight and I think they really showed it.

“I’m sure people thought we were mad when we kept saying that the fellas are working hard and they’re doing everything well but when it comes to the match day we’re not getting it.

“A performance like that doesn’t come about by fluke or by accident so we’re very happy just to see the players performing to a level that they’re capable of. It’s onto the next challenge now.”

That next challenge will see them as overwhelming favourites when they make the trip to Division 4 side Waterford next weekend while his opposite number Paddy Christie will be feeling the heat as Longford manager.

Longford never raised a gallop in this 20-point defeat and the former Dublin defender faces a mammoth task to raise their spirits with Leitrim coming to Pearse Park next weekend.

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