By Damian Dolan
London can go into their Christy Ring preparations on a ‘positive note’ says centre back Kevin Reid, after the Exiles beat Kildare in their Division 2A relegation showdown.
With both sides losing their opening four league matches, it was winner takes all at McGovern Park and the home side delivered when it mattered most to claim a 1-19 to 0-15 victory.
Fergus McMahon’s Exiles can now look forward with degree of confidence to the Christy Ring, which gets underway in Derry on 12 May. They’ll then host Down at McGovern Park, before making the trip to Armagh.
“We said at the start of the year that our aim was the Christy Ring. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have our eyes on winning it,” Reid told the Irish World.
“You hurl to win; it’s no fun just taking part. If you don’t think you’re going to win it, what’s the point in being there.
“We took some heavy beatings against Carlow, Kerry and Meath, and we’re better than that. I don’t think the scorelines did us justice.
“To get a win [vs Kildare] makes a massive difference. Hopefully we can perform well and get to the knock-out stages, and then we’ll see where we go from there.”
Colin Nelson’s 13th minute goal was crucial as the Exiles built up a nine-point half-time lead over the Lilywhites.
Despite gaining the upperhand, the visitors never looked like closing the gap in the second half, and London’s Richie Murphy finished with a personal tally 0-11 (7f, 2 ’65).
“We knew we had to get a good start – the goal was very important – and we built on it,” added Reid.
“We didn’t want to let Kildare into it. We felt if we let them in and they stuck with it, then it could be anyone’s game. That showed in the second half. They came back at us, but thankfully we had the lead.
“Did we get complacent [in the second half]? We did the same against Westmeath and they got two quick goals. Luckily it didn’t happen today, but it’s something we need to improve on, putting teams away when we do get on top.
A delighted Reid added: “It’s great to stay up; the other teams, apart from ourselves and Kildare, are in the Joe McDonagh Cup, but playing them teams is the way you improve.”