By Micil Glennon
Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park, 4pm
Westmeath came to Croke Park four weeks ago and left with their tails between their legs.
After promotion to Division 1, many thought that they would give Dublin a run for their money in the quarter-final.
Much to everyone’s disappointment, not least the Dublin camp, a 16-point defeat told its own story.
“We prepared for the Westmeath game as if it was going to be a big test but unfortunately it didn’t turn out like that,” Dublin’s Paul Flynn told RTÉ Sport.
“You have to measure yourself against your own standards and try to keep them standards as high as possible for the duration of the game. In the middle of the first half we kind of slipped a bit and took the foot off the gas.”
Despite Kildare’s capitulation to Cork in last season’s All-Ireland quarter-final, they are, in general, a 70-minute team, especially under the guidance of Kieran McGeeney for six seasons.
The Lilywhites got a decent test against Offaly but their fitness and domination of possession saw them run out 0-19 to 1-12 winners.
There is a sense that McGeeney will have to have something to put in the trophy cabinet after failing to claim a provincial title despite being tipped to do so in a number of seasons.
The Armagh man has blooded a number of young players this season but says for others, like 35-year-old Johnny Doyle, time is running out.
Speaking in the Irish Daily Star, he said: “You try telling those 19-year-olds that this is the be-all and end-all of their career. They’re going to find that hard to understand. Whereas if you talk to the likes of Johnny (Doyle) there, there might be more in that.
“Not everyone has careers like Johnny or Leper (Eamonn Callaghan). That’s not the norm anymore. So it is hard to explain to young fellas that it’s all about the now. They believe that they’re invincible at this age. And that’s a good thing, especially for Sunday.”
Kildare’s uncanny ability to hit wides is in direct contrast to Dublin’s strength, kicking points from 10-15.
It’s hard to see how the reigning champions’ scoring machine can be derailed and their strike rate can be the difference.
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton, Darren Daly, Rory O'Carroll, Jonny Cooper, James McCarthy, Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey, MD Macauley, Cian O'Sullivan, Paul Flynn, Ciaran Kilkenny, Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan, Peter Kelly, Michael Foley, Hugh McGrillen, Eamon O'Callaghan, Morgan O'Flaherty, Emmet Bolton, Daryl Flynn, Daniel Flynn, Paul Cribbin, Niall Kelly, Eoghan O'Flaherty, John Doyle, Tomás O'Connor, Paddy Brophy.
Live television coverage of Meath v Wexford and Dublin v Kildare from 13:30 on Sunday 30 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage of all the day’s action from 15:00 on RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ RnaG and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).
Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 20:30 on Sunday 30 June on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Expert and fan reaction on Take Your Point from 18:00 on Sunday 30 June on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).