HomeFootballPaddy Woodgate leads Kildare in opening Tailteann Cup triumph over Longford

Paddy Woodgate leads Kildare in opening Tailteann Cup triumph over Longford

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Glenn Ryan’s side had eight defeats from nine games between League and championship before this encounter but they looked a totally different outfit at a sun-kissed Manguard Park in Hawkfield.

Much was made of this fixture being played at Kildare’s Centre of Excellence — with a capacity of approximately 1,200 — but they were clearly familiar with the posts anyway.

They couldn’t miss in the opening half with a 1-16 to 0-5 lead accumulated by half-time and they never looked back with Paddy Woodgate (2-1) and Darragh Kirwan (0-6) in sensational form up front.

​ Kildare laid down a couple of early markers with some big turnovers in the opening minutes but Darren Gallagher got the visitors off the mark in the ninth minute from a free.

They had goalkeeper Paddy Collum to thank soon after, though, after the Fr Manning Gaels netminder did brilliantly to tip over a driving shot from Kirwan that looked bound for the net, 0-4 to 0-1.

Dylan Farrell (free) and Kevin Feely, a booming point that seemed to tail off at the last second, traded points at either end but Longford were struggling to make a mark from play.

Gallagher stroked over another free off the ground to close the gap to two, 0-5 to 0-3, but the Lilies slipped into overdrive soon after and put daylight between the sides with 1-7 without response.

Ryan Houlihan surged forward from corner-back before firing over from close-range after a neat move with Daniel Flynn while Kirwan couldn’t miss as he fired over two more beauties, 0-8 to 0-3.

His accuracy was a common theme for Kildare as the squander-mania that undercut their Leinster SFC semi-final defeat to Louth a fortnight ago was nowhere to be seen.

Mick O’Grady fired their first wide in the 21st minute and it really should been in the back of the net with the veteran Celbridge defender played straight in with just Collum to beat.

That didn’t deter them, however, with Paddy McDermott and Shane Farrell adding points before Woodgate slammed the ball to the net in the 26th minute after being played through by the raiding Houlihan.

Flynn added his first soon after before Kirwan, who was giving Mickey Quinn a torrid time from his centre-forward berth, fired over his fifth from play to put them a dozen points ahead, 1-12 to 0-3.

Longford couldn’t get any traction but they finally got off the mark from play with Joseph Hagan sending over a peach from the outside of his left boot. That didn’t stop the bleeding, though. Kildare fired over four of the next five points before the break with Woodgate, Feely and Jack Sargent (two) maintaining an extraordinary strike-rate with 17 scores from 19 first-half shots as they coasted in 14 points ahead after a scintillating display, 1-16 to 0-5.

The breakneck pace of the Lilies in opening half naturally dropped after the break with the sides sharing the first six points but it wasn’t long before Kildare kicked on again.

Woodgate closed the third quarter with his second goal after coolly beating Collum at his near post from a tight angle as they stretched the lead to 19 points, 2-21 to 0-8.

It was a harrowing evening for Longford but they did get a goal of their own and who else could it be but Gallagher as he was one of the few to take the fight to Kildare in a dismal showing. Farrell, who finished with 0-3 from play, was another who didn’t throw in the towel but they were trying to fight fires everywhere and McDermott’s 72nd minute goal put the seal on a comprehensive display.

Scorers — Kildare: P Woodgate 2-1, D Kirwan 0-6, P McDermott 1-2, K Feely 0-4 (0-2 marks), J Sargent, D Flynn, T Archbold 0-2 each, S Farrell, D Swords, R Teahan, R Houlihan, A Masterson, K Flynn 0-1 each. Longford: D Gallagher 1-4 (4f), A Farrell 0-5 (2f), J Hagan 0-2

Kildare: M Donnellan; R Houlihan, M O’Grady, R Burke; T Archbold, B Byrne, J Sargent; A Masterson, B Gibbons; S Farrell, D Kirwan, P McDermott; P Woodgate, D Flynn, K Feely. Subs: K Flynn for Gibbons (45), K Galligan for Archbold (53), D Swords for D Flynn (55), E Doyle for Burke (59), R Teahan for Kirwan (64).

Longford: P Collum; P Fox, O O’Toole, B Masterson; A Farrell, R Moffett, Dessie Reynolds; D Gallagher, D Farrell; M Hughes, M Quinn, J Hagan; Daniel Reynolds, D Mimnagh, K McGann. Subs: P Kiernan for Daniel Reynolds (half-time), E Macken for McGann (43), C McCabe for Quinn (51), J Macken for Mimnagh (57), R Harkin for Hagan (64).

Referee: B Griffin (Kerry)

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