ANY illusions the new Offaly management and their young squad of players may have had about the size of the task facing them this year following their win over Westmeath in the first round of the O’Byrne Cup were shattered in spectacular fashion by a near full strength Kildare side in Newbridge on Sunday.
While manager Gerry Cooney and selector Tony Kenny were not present on Sunday, James Stewart will no doubt report back on the gap in class there was on Sunday between Offaly and the side they will face this summer in the quarter-final of the Leinster Championship.
Among a short list of contenders for the All Ireland this year, and on an even shorter list for the Leinster Championship, in the first half Kildare looked like a side who have been working hard together for a number of years and they simply tore their opponents apart. Their passing, movement and work rate was relentless against the strong wind as they put ten points on the board while keeping Offaly scoreless.
In fact had the Offaly full-back line not played so well, Kildare could have had another ten points on the board such was their dominance in every other area of the field.
SEE THIS WEEK’S OFFALY EXPRESS (JANUARY 18) FOR FULL REPORT