Kerry turned on the style, Meath continued their fast start while Kildare are struggling in the National League…
Kerry’s attaching riches run deep
Jack O’Connor is without several of his front-liners for the early stages of the National League. The All-Ireland champions were not as quick out of the blocks as other counties, given they were on a team holiday, while the Fossa and Rathmore, and Kerins O’Rahillys representatives were in club action right through the winter.
Despite not boasting their full complement, Kerry showed strength in depth with a dominant win at home to Monaghan.
In defence, they frustrated their visitors as the Farney County struggled to break through the Kingdom blanket.
Up front was most pleasing for O’Connor, however. Donal O’Sullivan delivered a man of the match display with 1-3 on debut, while Darragh Roche also made a strong case for inclusion going forward.
Paudie Clifford received a warm ovation upon his introduction, and delivered in style, providing a reminder of the talent yet to return to the starting team.
Meath rise continues
Colm O’Rourke’s revolution is in the early stages, but the initial signs are positive.
The Royals have won two from two in the second tier. But it is the manner of those victories which is most pleasing. They scored three goals away to Cork last week, and bettered that with four green flags at home to Clare on Sunday.
Jordan Morris and Co in the inside forward line are clearly benefitting from the new system in place, with a clear emphasis on direct kicking.
There also appears to be buy-in around the county, as a bumper crowd attended Páirc Tailteann for the visit of the Banner County.
It is still only early February but there are promising signs from this Meath team, as they have kept pace with Dublin and Derry after the opening two rounds. Next up is a trip to the Oak Leaf County, which will offer a real barometer of the Royals’ progress.
Glenn Ryan’s charges would have quietly fancied their chances of securing a swift return to Division 1, before a ball was kicked in the National League.
A one-point defeat away to Dublin was a credible opening result for the Lilywhites, but they needed to prove their credentials at home against Cork on Sunday. Having gone through the 2022 top tier campaign with an unbeaten record in Newbridge, Kildare were fancied to account for the Rebels at St Conleth’s Park.
A flying start for John Cleary’s charges laid the foundations, as they stormed into a 1-6 to 0-0 lead. Shell-shocked, Kildare were unable to claw it back from there.
With dreams of promotion all but over already, Kildare’s focus is now fixed on securing Sam Maguire Cup football for later in the year.
The emergence of Jack Robinson has been the one positive in an otherwise disappointing start to the year for the Leinster county.