“Our tackle count is up on last week, the balls we turned over is up on last week, but unfortunately the amount of ball we gave away is up as well,” said Ryan.
“But that gives us something to work on. You don’t expect things to be perfect in January and you probably don’t train for things to be perfect. We were disappointed Davy Hyland couldn’t play today (due to illness). We’d hoped Fergal Conway would have been able to start but he’s only coming back. Paddy Brophy has had a tough week with injuries. We were delighted to get him on the field but the preparation this week coming into the game wasn’t ideal for him.
Apart from that Ryan has a clean bill of health.
“Most of the rest of them are coming along fairly nicely. We have no new issues or injuries. The unfortunate thing is the guys that had operations over the last while (Eamonn Callaghan, Niall Kelly, Eoin Doyle and Peter Kelly), none of them are going to be available for the Mayo match but we just get on with it. There’s some (who have a chance of forcing their way in). I thought Ollie Lyons did well. Kevin Murnaghan started very well but David Hyland did very well the last day at wing-back. Jimmy Gately did well when he came on. There’s a lot of competition and there’s going to be a lot of fellas who didn’t get a game fairly disgusted about that.”
He repeated his oft-made statement of recent weeks that veteran attacker, Johnny Doyle would be given as much time as needed to decide if he wanted to return to the fold.
Meath counterpart, Mick O’Dowd was satisfied to have kept Kildare to 1-10 and despite losing, was also satisfied that the pre-season tournament had served its purpose ahead of the league.
“We got five games which is important and just the way the weather is today, I was delighted that the game went ahead. In the month of January, you experiment.
“That involves putting out different teams so it’s hard to get the flow from one week to the next if you are being true to your word and giving fellas chances.
“There was a lot of positives,” said O’Dowd “and I’m sure when we look at the game we’ll see that but we’re disappointed to lose.”
Kildare had the perfect start with a goal from midfielder Thomas Moolick at the end of a slick move started by half-back Kevin Murnaghan, and also involving Cathal McNally and Paddy Brophy. Last week’s four-goal hero, Pádraig Fogarty added a point but Meath responded with a point each from their full-forward line of Stephen Bray, Eamonn Wallace and Michael Newman (free) to reduce the margin to the minimum.
Kildare stretched that to a goal once more with a couple of scores, including a fine effort from McNally after Emmet Bolton had taken the ball out of defence purposefully.
Meath were looking dangerous themselves though and points from David Larkin, Bray and Wallace brought them level.
Newman almost had a goal in injury time but Mick Foley brilliantly toe-poked his shot off the line. A Darroch Mulhall free sent the hosts into a 1-4 to 0-6 lead at the interval. The second half was tightly contested but the Kildare defence was dominant, with Gary White, Mick Foley, Kevin Murnaghan and Paul Cribbin prominent, while they managed to pick up a greater share of the midfield breaks too. Mulhall exerted an increased influence from his deep position and two brilliant points from distance with either foot, allied with a couple of good scores from Paul Cribbin, enabled the Lilywhites push into a four-point lead.
In a game of this nature, on such a heavy pitch, that was always likely to be sufficient, and Kildare held on with a degree of comfort, although Damien Carroll could have made it interesting had he done better with than find the side-netting from a good opportunity.
Scorers for Kildare: D Mulhall 0-4(2fs); T Moolick 1-0; P Cribbin 0-2; P Fogarty, C McNally, S Hurley, P Brophy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: M Newman 0-4(3fs, 1 45); E Wallace, S Bray 0-2 each; D Larkin 0-.
KILDARE: M Donnellan, M O’Grady, M Foley, H McGrillen, K Murnaghan, E Bolton, P Cribbin, T Moolick, G White, C McNally, E O’Flaherty, S Hurley, P Brophy, D Mulhall, P Fogarty.
Subs: O Lyons for McGrillen (50); J Gately for McNally (58); F Dowling for Mulhall (68); F Conway for O’Flaherty (70+1).
MEATH: C McHugh, D Keogan, M Burke, C Young, D Dalton, E Harrington, P Gilsenan, C Gillespie, A Tormey, P McKeever, D McDonagh, D Larkin, E Wallace, S Bray, M Newman.
Subs: K Reilly for Gillespie inj (20); G Reilly for McKeever (45), D Carroll for McDonagh (45), D Bray for Wallace (45); S O’Rourke for Carroll (blood sub 51-53); O’Rourke for Young (53); K O’Sullivan for Tormey BC (60).
Referee: F Kelly (Longford).