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Qualifier preview: Kildare fancied to overcome Sligo challenge

Updated: Friday, 27 Jul 2012 09:56 | Comments

Kildare's John Doyle: 'The Hyde is a ground I'm a familiar with and both sides will be playing on the same grass, so I don't see it as a problem.'
Kildare's John Doyle: 'The Hyde is a ground I'm a familiar with and both sides will be playing on the same grass, so I don't see it as a problem.'

By James McMahon

Kildare, who have been inconsistent this summer, travel to Hyde Park to take on Sligo in what is sure to be an intriguing encounter.

The Lilywhite camp have had their say all week about the choice of venue and the unfairness they feel about playing in a ground that is more familiar to their opponents.

A more considered view came from Johnny Doyle when he spoke to Sport At 7 on RTÉ Radio. He said: "The Hyde is a ground I’m a familiar with and both sides will be playing on the same grass, so I don’t see it as a problem.”

At the start of the championship, many pundits fancied to Kildare to land the Leinster championship, but they disappointed in going down to Meath.

Their back-door route started with a facile win over Cavan, but they played second fiddle to Limerick for a lot of the game last Saturday, before forcing extra-time.

They did finish strongly in added time, but doubts remain as to whether they can make an All-Ireland push even if they get past the Yeats county.

Sligo, for their part, will be thankful that they have had a fortnight to get over their Connacht final loss. It was a game they could have won, despite not playing to the same heights that saw them surprise Galway on 9 June.

They won’t fear meeting Kildare, but will be conscious that their midfield sector will have to perform better than they did against Mayo.

Defensively, they stood up well the last day, with Ross Donovan in particular having an outstanding game. And up front, Adrian Marren and David Kelly are a duo that can get vital scores if given the right ball.

Kieran McGeeney will be desperate for his side to get back to Croke Park. On the law of averages so far in the championship, they are due to notch up another high score, but Sligo, while not having the same depth of talent in their panel, are a gritty outfit.

Any Kildare victory will be hard fought, leaving them in a positive frame of mind for the Croke Park challenge that lies ahead.

Verdict: Kildare

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