McGeeney pleased with Kildare's stateside run

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney took a good deal of positives from his side's 2-7 to 0-8 challenge match win over New York at Gaelic Park last night.

Despite seeing his players tally up eight wides in a stop-start display, McGeeney said afterwards: "I don't think either team was too worried about the result. It was just good to get out there and get a kick about."

In blizzard-like conditions, which shortened the first half to 25 minutes and the second to 20 minutes, McGeeney's charges found it difficult to stamp their authority on the game.

When Kildare finally got into some kind of rhythm, with Rob Kelly twice finishing off moves that started well inside their own half, they struggled to maintain the momentum as playing conditions deteriorated.

"It was played in a friendly manner and on a night like that, you just want everyone to get through the game without picking up any injuries.

"Fellas over here are working hard, so you don't want them to be hurting in the morning," added McGeeney.

The game against New York completed a two-week trip to America for the Kildare panel, which also saw them spend 10 days in San Francisco.

With the National League opener against Down fast approaching and intense competition for places among the panel, it was clear that the players given the nod were trying to make the most of the opportunity.

Padraig O'Neill and David White created a good partnership in midfield and linked up well with half forwards Rob Kelly and Morgan O'Flaherty, while Willie Heffernan and Emmet Bolton in the full-forward line claimed a goal each.

Although happy with the win, McGeeney will expect his players to up their performance significantly going into the new season.

The five-point margin should have been greater, as the number of wides increased and all to frequently shots fell short and into the hands of New York goalkeeper Alan Hearty.

"They haven't kicked a ball in anger in a while and I tried a few players up front that usually wouldn't play there, like Emmett Bolton and Morgan O'Flaherty, so I was happy enough," said McGeeney, who felt his team were a bit rusty having not played together in four months.

Next in line for McGeeney and Kildare are UCD in the O'Byrne Cup on January 10. The Armagh All-Ireland-winning captain of 2002 hopes a good run will give the Lilywhites the basis they need to build momentum leading into the league.

"We know it is going to be tough, but we have to be ready. The O'Byrne Cup, when we go home, will get us ready for the start of the league which is going to be important for us ahead of the Championship in the summer."

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