Out Like Flynn – Daniel Opts Out as Cian Freshens Up Panel

The rumours were true then. At least in the case of Daniel Flynn, who has decided to step away from the Kildare football panel for 2019. Cian O’Neill named a 39-strong panel for the O’Byrne Cup and I must admit to scouring it three times before resigning myself to the fact that the Johnstown Bridge man was missing.

It’s a departure with echoes of Larry Tompkins and Niall Buckley from years gone by in terms of his worth to the Lilywhites. And neither of those worked out well for us. Hopefully, though, it’s just an itch he needs to scratch and he’ll be back to join a developing panel playing Division One football in 2020.

While there’s plenty to be optimistic about looking through a panel with a nice youthful look to it – eleven members of the All Ireland under-20 panel have been given their chance to shine – no county in Ireland wouldn’t miss a forward of the raw talent of Daniel. Kildare may find new heroes in 2019 but they’ll do well to find one man capably of scoring 7 goals in one season (making it 10 in 22 appearances in the last two years).

Most of the other changes were sign-posted by the rumour machine over the last few weeks. Niall Kelly has gone traveling and while that’s just for 3 months, it seems open-ended as to whether he’ll come back. Eamonn Callaghan has retired and Johnny Byrne has stepped away, as has youngster Ruadhan O Giollain. Thankfully that was the extent of the departures, although Cathal McNally will be recovering from an ankle injury well into the new year and hasn’t been named. Eanna O’Connor is in a similar boat.

With Flynn and Kelly’s loss, the forward line is significantly boosted by the return of Eoghan O’Flaherty, Podge Fogarty, Adam Tyrell and Ben McCormack. That’s a lot of firepower and when you add the under-20 forwards such as Jimmy Hyland, Brian McLoughlin and Padraig Nash to existing first-teamers Neil Flynn, Paul Cribbin and Chris Healy, you’ve got a real head-scratcher to come up with a starting forward line. The next few months will be interesting!

Carbury man O’Flaherty, who took two years out from inter-county football, is now the most experienced member of the team with 89 appearances (although Keith Cribbin is longest serving having debuted in April 2008).

At the back, Mark Barrett, DJ Earley, Jason Gibbons, Tony Archbold, Mark Dempsey and John O’Toole all feature from the under-20’s while David Malone is a more left-field inclusion from Raheens. O’Toole struggled to find a starting spot on the under-20 team but excelled in Monasterevin’s run to the Intermediate final and a tight performance on Jimmy Hyland against Ballyteague along the way may have swung the vote his way.

Aaron Masterson steps up for his first taste of senior fare at county level after a magnificent year or so for Moorefield and the under-20’s. Much interest will surround his early appearances.

All in all, ten members of the new panel have yet to play their first competitive senior game for Kildare.

The only slight disappointment for me in terms of the youngsters picked is that Clogherinkoe’s Jack Robinson hasn’t been included. While lacking a little in physique at this stage his is a mercurial talent and I do hope we will see him in the senior jersey some day.

The panel is shown below and we’ve added a permanent Menu item for the football and hurling panels on the menu bar (see here)

Kildare 2019 Panel