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21st Feb 2022

Daniel Flynn is a rolls royce – he’s the most exciting player to watch in Gaelic football

Niall McIntyre

A local radio commentator was shaking his head.

He was hardly the only one. Kerry were in Newbridge of a dog-dirty day for football and, up in the commentary box, the Kildare correspondent was talking good, bad and ugly. No prizes for guessing who he was on about.

The issue with Daniel Flynn, according to the commentator, was that for every moment of magic there were two or three moments of madness. That while Flynn is the undoubtedly the most talented player on the Kildare team, it can be very frustrating to watch the bad bits, the ugly bits and the bits he’s way too good to be messing around at.

Because literally anything could happen when that man gets the ball.

One minute, he’s scolding not one, not two but three Tyrone defenders with the type of blinding pace and breath-taking skill that explains why half of Kildare have him christened the second coming.

The next, as three spooked defenders back off at the thoughts of what he could do, and the air fills with possibility, Daniel Flynn solos the ball like he’s never done it before. He kicks it into the sky like a young lad waiting on a ballon and that’s why the other half of Kildare isn’t sure what to think.

Throw in a few high, looping hand-passes here, a few more blistering runs there and it was a classic Daniel Flynn performance on Sunday. Tyrone were spooked by the time he’d waltzed through them for two stunning first half points but when it comes to Daniel Flynn, what you must remember is that it’s not just about the points.

He hadn’t scored in Kildare’s first two rounds of the League after all, but he’s still been one of his county’s best performers. That’s because, every time he gets the ball, Daniel Flynn electrifies the place to the extent that he improves the men around him. Tyrone and Kildare was a brilliant game of football on Sunday and it was that man Flynn who set the tone, making it his business to make inroads every time he got the ball.

His Kildare team-mates, none-more-so than the brilliant Kevin Flynn, took a leaf from the book by literally sprinting at Tyrone every time he got the ball. It hardly needs to be said anymore that Conor Meyler does the exact same thing and that’s why, with the wind picking up and the ground digging up, the clock was ticking towards 70 but this game wasn’t slowing down, it was speeding up.

We’re all the time giving out about Gaelic football and its lateral, impotent hand-passing but this was brilliant. The levels of fitness and athleticism on show were off the charts and they were best summed up by that man Flynn, at 0.07, 0.35 and 1.20 in the below clip.

It would have been fitting if Flynn sealed the deal for a finish but, after bursting through once again, he lifted his shot over the bar and looked up to the skies. It was another moment when he pulled us all in, nobody – least of all Flynn himself – knowing what was going to happen next. It didn’t work out this time but it’s that sense of adventure that has us all watching.

And while he might have you shaking your head at times, he’ll have you clapping your hands soon. And that’s what makes him one of the most entertaining players in the game.

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