The renaissance of Kildare football in the mid 90’s brought them back into the light after years in the shadow of their neighbours Dublin and Meath. With that brought an edge to their club championship. Despite the Newbridge teams taking centre stage, the titles have been shared between 7 Clubs over a 20 year period. But who were the best of this era? We asked Kildare stars of the past and present to decide. Johnstownbridge’s Daniel Flynn, Allenwood hero Johnny Doyle and Suncroft’s Anthony Rainbow. Let’s see who made the cut!
Leixlip shot stopper Enda Murphy was chosen as the number 1. The former Kildare goalkeeper was “one of the main reasons Leixlip remained a senior club” according to Anthony Rainbow.
Honourable Mentions: Christy Byrne (Castlemitchell), Mark Donnellan (Maynooth).
Full Back Line:
Current Kildare star David Hyland was chosen unanimously at corner back, the Athy man has been the personification of solidity for club and county. At full back was Moorefield enforcer Kevin O’Neill, and joining him was his clubmate Podge O’Flynn. Their aptitude in the defence for the club played a big part in their dominance over the era.
Honourable Mentions: Hugh McGrillen (Celbridge), Sean Campbell (Moorefield), John Wilshire (Allenwood).
Half Back Line:
Moorefield were once again represented in the half back line with Kevin Murnaghan taking the number 5 jersey. Their defence was anchored by Kildare legend Glen Ryan, with Johnny and Anthony agreeing that “that you couldn’t have a best 15 without Glen in it”. Completing the half back line was Sarsfields’ warrior Gary White, a leader at club level and also a main lieutenant for the Lily Whites in Kieran McGeeney’s battalion.
Honourable Mentions: Liam Sex (Sarsfields), Mick Foley (Athy), Morgan O’Flaherty (Carbury).
Midfield was occupied by two Newbridge men, the first was Darryl Flynn, the Moorefield man was selected with very little debate from the triumvirate and boasts a trophy haul of 9 Kildare titles and 2 Leinster club titles. The other man chosen was Niall Buckley, although he only won 1 county title in this era in 2001 before moving to the US, Anthony Rainbow couldn’t have spoken much higher of his former Kildare comrade, mentioning that “he is probably one of the greatest talents to ever come out of Kildare”.
Honourable Mentions: Alan Barry (Sarsfields), Fergal Conway (Celbridge).
Half Forward Line:
Despite strongly arguing against it, Johnny Doyle was overruled by his fellow selectors and placed at wing forward. “We can’t be picking ourselves!” disputed Johnny, “You’re not picking yourself, we’re picking you!” explained Anthony. Paudie O’Neill was chosen on the 40, the St.Laurence’s club man was instrumental in his clubs solitary championship win. They were accompanied by Sarsfields and Kildare legend Dermot Earley. “He seemed to gilde in to games but whenever you needed somebody to win a vital ball or take a game by the scruff of the neck you could always turn to Dermot” outlined Johnny Doyle.
Honourable Mentions: Ray Cahill (Sarsfields), James Kavanagh (Ballymore), Mark O’Sullivan (Celbridge).
Full Forward Line:
The first man inside is the only outfield player that never got his hands on a county title, however Carbury’s Eoin O’Flaherty was the main reason they came so close, racking up high individual tally’s on the their way to 2 county finals. On the square was 9 time championship winner and Moorefield hero Ronan Sweeney, the trio were unanimous in their selection, with Johnny adding “If he’s not in our team we’ll never be able to show our faces in Kildare ever again!”. Completing the team was Sarsfields sharpshooter Alan Smith, who seemed to always deliver when it was needed most for his club.
Honourable Mentions: Niall Kelly (Athy), Ben McCormack (Sarsfields), Niall O’Callaghan (Allenwood).
The Team In Full
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