At the start of the Allianz Football League campaign, Kildare were tipped to be the biggest threats to Division 2’s consensus duopoly of Dublin and Derry.
It has not panned out that way, as Glenn Ryan’s charges find themselves with just one win from four games, and have a fight on their hands to secure Sam Maguire Cup football for 2023.
In particular, their home form has fallen off a cliff.
St Conleth’s Park was a fortress for the Lilywhites in 2022. In their three home Division 1 games, they delivered wins over Dublin and Monaghan, and secured a draw with Kerry.
Fast-forward 12 months and it is a different scenario entirely.
Thus far in the campaign, Cork and Derry have ran out comprehensive winners in Newbridge. The Rebels prevailed 2-14 to 0-7, while the Oak Leaf County went one better in a 2-15 to 0-7 victory.
The fact that Kildare have scored just 0-14 across two home fixtures points to a bigger issue. Their scoring threats have greatly diminished. Despite boasting attacking talents like Daniel Flynn and Jimmy Hyland, they are struggling to do real damage on the scoreboard.
In fact, they are one of only two teams across all four divisions not to score a single goal in the opening four rounds of the National League (along with Longford).
If they do not arrest this decline, they could find themselves facing back-to-back relegations. Given their admirable showing in the top tier 12 months ago, another demotion would be unfathomable.
For now, it is fair to say there is significant pressure on Ryan and Co, ahead of the round five trip to Ardee to face Mickey Harte’s Louth side who have gathered momentum with back-to-back wins.