Sunday July 16
Leinster Senior Football Championship Final
Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park, 4pm
During the past 18 months progress has been made, but there is no disguising the fact that Sunday’s date in Croke Park will be revealing.
It will show Kildare where they truly stand so that is why the Lilywhites are relishing the opportunity to examine themselves against Dublin.
Jim Gavin’s charges have set a scarily high standard in Leinster claiming 11 of the last 12 provincial crowns.
A seven in a row can be completed this weekend, but Kildare are intent about delivering a serious display at GAA headquarters.
Kildare certainly learned plenty of valuable losses during their two most recent Championship encounters with Dublin.
Nine goals were leaked in the 5-18 to 0-14 and 4-16 to 1-9 defeats so the importance of a solid Kildare start cannot be overstated.
Cian O’Neill’s team, though, took huge encouragement from the manner in which Laois and Meath were dealt with en route to this decider.
At the penultimate stage Kildare had the power and pace to beat Meath soundly.
Undoubtedly Dublin represent a step-up, but there was enough in that display to suggest Kildare can be competitive.
Daniel Flynn has registered 2-7 in two games, while Cathal McNally is also motoring smoothly contributing 1-6.
Kevin Feely is adept at centrefield alongside Tommy Moolick and Kildare will need to disturb Dublin in this vital sector.
Dublin’s willing runners scamper forward from deep at every opportunity so how Kildare deal with this issue will be crucial.
Jack McCaffrey, Brian Fenton, and James McCarthy can hurt teams through sheer direct running and Kildare must cope adequately.
Paul Mannion was in splendid scoring form during Dublin’s emphatic Semi-Final victory over Westmeath.
Dean Rock will punish any defensive fouling from Kildare so it is an afternoon in which the Lilywhites must be dynamic and disciplined.
Even without the suspended Diarmuid Connolly, Dublin’s attack carries a potent threat so Kildare must combine graft with craft so captain Eoin Doyle’s role will be significant.
While the future glimmers with promise for Kildare following a string of successful underage outfits what truly matters is the present. Kildare must summon a gritty performance against Dublin, but that is a considerable task.