Kildare put themselves on the brink of promotion with a comfortable 11-point victory over Tipperary in Clonmel on Saturday.
And with the prospect of a Division 3 final on the cards, Kildare’s preparation for their Leinster SFC quarter-final against Wexford on May 21 couldn’t have gone much better.
But Daniel Flynn’s injury is a concern for O’Neill, as the scorer of 1-2 damaged his hamstring while kicking his second point.
O’Neill revealed: “The frustrating thing is we had Pádraig O’Neill ready to come in. Daniel had come over and said he was tightening.
“Hopefully, it won’t be too serious but it’s safe to say he won’t be available next week.”
A huge travelling contingent saw Kildare move 1-7 to 0-1 clear by half-time, with Tipp’s solitary first half score coming from Kevin Fahey.
The hosts should have had more on the board though. Philip Austin missed a glorious goal chance in the first minute and Alan Campbell another later on.
It was also a forgettable half of football for normally reliable freetaker Conor Sweeney, who struck the upright twice, dropped one short and another wide before being hauled off at the break.
What this game did show was that Tipp can only go so far with the squad of players manager Liam Kearns has at his disposal.
An unprecedented injury crisis has taken its toll and Kearns will have been disappointed yesterday to find hurling counterpart Michael Ryan has retained dual players Steven O’Brien and Seamus Kennedy following the trimming of his squad, though Bill Maher has been released.
All three would be almost definite starters for the footballers and Kearns admitted it has been frustrating to see them not featuring for the hurlers at a time when his need is great.
“Yeah, it is,” Kearns said. “No point in saying otherwise.”
Niall Kelly’s 17th-minute goal, a fortuitous effort that went all the way to the net after he played a low, diagonal ball into the full-forward line, was a killer blow for Tipp.
Flynn netted in the second half before Fahey responded in kind within a minute.
O’Neill now has his sights set further down the road.
“It’s eight weeks from today (Wexford game), a Saturday, so we really need to get things ramped up now and not wait for the league to end before we get into championship mode,” he added.
K Fahey (1-1); A Moloney (0-2, 1 free); M Quinlivan & P Austin (0-1 each).
D Flynn (1-2); N Kelly (1-0); A Tyrell (1f) & E O’Flaherty (1f, 1 45) (0-3 each); T Moolick & P Cribbin (0-2 each); E Callaghan (0-1).
E Comerford; C O’Shaughnessy, A Campbell, C McDonald; J Feehan, R Kiely, K Fahey; A Moloney, M Dunne; J Keane, P Acheson, J Lonergan; C Sweeney, M Quinlivan, P Austin.
B Hewitt for Sweeney (h.t.), G Hannigan for Dunne (54), I Fahey for Moloney (58), S Leahy for Campbell (67).
M Donnellan; P Kelly, C Fitzpatrick, O Lyons; D Hyland, F Conway, C O’Donoghue; K Feely, T Moolick; A Tyrell, N Kelly, E O’Flaherty; D Flynn, P Cribbin, E Callaghan.
J Byrne for O’Donoghue (h.t.), P O’Neill for Flynn (58), A Smith for Tyrell (64), K Murnaghan for Conway (67), R Kelly for Cribbin (70+1).
N Mooney (Cavan).