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Kildare's Jimmy Hyland was named the EirGrid U20 Championship Player of the Year.
Kildare's Jimmy Hyland was named the EirGrid U20 Championship Player of the Year.

Jimmy Hyland eager to develop further


By Cian O’Connell

Jimmy Hyland is hopeful Kildare can deliver at the highest level soon.

Promising attacker Hyland, who scored 0-10 in last month’s inaugural All Ireland Under 20 Final win over Mayo, was named EirGrid Player of the Year following a prolific campaign at that level.

During the spring Hyland featured in the Allianz Football League for the Kildare senior team and hopes to be heavily involved in 2019.

“It was great to get a taste of it, just to see the level, I suppose,” Hyland admits. “Just to see the playing you'd be playing at and the level I would have to get to in order to progress.

“That is the aim to get more time in the League, to push on. There are no guarantees either, I will just have to push on, to try to earn it.”

Hyland acknowledges that it is an interesting time for the Lilywhites, who have been highly competitive in the underage ranks recently.

“That would be fair to say, we have won three Leinster minors, and an Under 21 in that time too so there are positive vibes coming from the underage,” Hyland states. “As you know, though, that doesn't always mean success at senior level so we wouldn't be getting too ahead of ourselves.

“There is definitely a good few lads who can come into that team over the next few years to make an impact, no doubt about it.

“There is a big gap, it is even quicker again, and the physicality. It could take a lad a year or two just to get up to that level which is even without football. You definitely need patience.”

Jimmy Hyland impressed in the Eirgrid U20 All Ireland Final for Kildare against Mayo at Croke Park.
Jimmy Hyland impressed in the Eirgrid U20 All Ireland Final for Kildare against Mayo at Croke Park.

Hyland would relish the opportunity to operate for Kildare once more and is optimstic that Cian O’Neill will remain in charge.

“As far as I know Cian is staying on, I'm pretty sure about that, but there is no talk about training or anything like that,” Hyland adds. I definitely would like to see Cian staying on, I think he is very good so I would be happy.”

In the senior ranks Kildare chalked up qualifier wins over Derry, Longford, Mayo, and Fermanagh to secure a place in the All Ireland Quarter-Final Group Phase.

Kildare’s run gave the underage teams a boost according to Hyland. “That definitely gave us a bit of confidence too because after the Championship game against Carlow it was looking very bad,” Hyland says about the manner in which Kildare’s players responded.

“In fairness to the senior boys going up to Derry it could have all passed them by, but they turned it around. It gave everyone a good bit of confidence again.”

Delivering the Under 20 crown was hugely satisfying for Hyland. “It was a great year for Kildare,” Maynooth University student Hyland acknowledges about that Kildare’s journey in the new competition.

“Hopefully it can give the underage players coming up in Kildare a boost, that they feel they can do the same as we done.”

Young players from the county are accumulating Croke Park experience which Hyland reckons is beneficial. “It probably is a big help,” Hyland remarks.

“We had played in Croke Park so that probably helped in the 20s final, the majority of that team had played there three or four times so it was a big help.”

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