The Kildare manager readily admitted his team have played below what they were capable of and were punished for doing so. But he took exception with a few of Michael Collins’ decisions.
“Me and refs go back a long way and they make the decisions and they always find a way of being right so it is what it is,” he sighed.
It was put to him that Collins may have awarded Kildare a free instead of throwing the ball up which led to Meath’s 60th minute goal.
“There were a lot of strange decisions… you can say it after you win a game because it’s taken as something constructive but when you lose it sounds like crying and it is up to yourselves to say those things.
“I’ll just have to take it on the chin and pretend these decisions don’t make a difference.”
McGeeney praised Meath for silencing a number of Kildare’s marquee footballers. John Doyle, for one, made way in the 50th minute after some glue-like marking from Donal Keoghan.
“A lot of our key players didn’t play to potential and you have to give Meath credit for stopping those.
“Even when we were on top we had good chances as well and when we went down to 14 men we could have pegged a few back and didn’t and Meath got a run on us when we were pushing men forward to try and get it.”
With Kildare having been fancied for provincial honours, yesterday was a massive fist in the solar plexus. He’s not lost faith — his team is packed with leaders, he says — but suggests the defeat might bring out the best in Kildare.
“I suppose that’s why we all love sport. None of us can write the definitive answer to what gives you success.
“You think you are doing the right thing. We talked about this during the week, among the management, if it was that simple. Even something that works one day, won’t work the other.
“In terms of rationalising it, you know, I do think it comes down to your particular mindset on the day. When you have to fight for something, when you are in a corner, you can give that wee bit more.
“The thing about top sportsmen is they always convince themselves they are in that corner. It doesn’t make any difference, we can look at Woods, Nadal, the greatest at what they do, but on any given day if you take your eye off the ball, or you feel that you don’t have to go at 100% somebody is biting at you below to take over those few paces that you just took.”
Kildare have never lost a qualifier under McGeeney but he’s unsure if the week-on-week fixtures suit them more as opposed to the two-week break they had before yesterday.
“Those things are very, very difficult to measure. I can’t say one thing here because something didn’t go right for us today.
“You are trying to peak at certain times, even trying to make the changes that will make a difference. Sometimes they work, sometimes they won’t.
“I wish I had the secret ingredient that will work everything.
“I’m not trying to be vague there. You can go into different scenarios, like you would rather Mikey Conway getting the ball at the end that Ollie Lyons got in front of the goals.
“All those sorts of things. But then Ollie makes the support run he is going to get on to it.”