Cian O’Neill lambasted those in the media who he claimed misinterpreted his pre-match comments about Dublin.
Shortly after beating Longford in last Sunday’s provincial quarter-final replay, O’Neill was asked if Kildare would settle for a good performance in defeat yesterday. “No, not at all, no,” O’Neill replied. “We are going to win that match, we are going to perform.”
O’Neill took exception to how his words were perceived by some as a prediction of a Kildare victory.
“It was portrayed totally differently. It’s moving away from the game here but I was very disappointed with that because I hear often time and time again about the media and how they struggle with access to managers or players
“I think that’s a perfect example of why that access has been withdrawn and pulled back over the years. There were three or four of you who were maybe in that room and the question was, ‘Now that you’ve progressed to next week are you going to Croke Park to take the defeat and then get ready for the qualifiers or are you going to try and win the match?’ And I said, ‘We’re going to beat Dublin. We’re going up to beat Dublin, we’re not going with any inferiority complex.’
“But the question wasn’t referenced and obviously the rest of my answer wasn’t referenced. That’s disappointing. It was sly, it was devious and I suppose there was an element of instant gratification to try and get a headline and I’m sure it did.
“But you know, what do you do? I try to be honest when I answer questions and really what I was saying was, ‘We are going up to win the match - we’re not going up to accept defeat - and then see where it takes us.’
I think anyone who was in the room knows exactly how that was conducted, that interview.”
O’Neill maintained, though, it had no bearing on the build-up for his team.
“I’m disappointed but it didn’t affect our preparations. It probably gave people plenty to talk about during the week, but swings and roundabouts. Ye will have less people talking to ye - ‘ye’ obviously being a generic point there before I get rattled on that one as well — if that keeps on happening.”
O’Neill felt the 15-point margin at full-time was unfair on Kildare. “We were obviously playing a high quality team who executed ruthlessly and efficiently and you’ve got to give them full credit for that. I’m obviously biased but I don’t believe 15 points reflected the match, or maybe it did. I suppose I’m thinking of the chances we created as opposed to what happened on the pitch.
“But listen, we’re playing a high quality team and they did what they do best.
“Unfortunately, I think if you’re going to beat Dublin you have to take every single chance that you create or at least the gilt-edged ones and that was probably the difference between the two teams today.”
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