Jack O'Connor blasts 'over the top' talk in build-up to Dublin-Kildare Leinster final

Kildare manager O'Connor felt there was disrespect shown to his team in the build-up to the game
Jack O'Connor blasts 'over the top' talk in build-up to Dublin-Kildare Leinster final

Kildare manager Jack O'Connor. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

An indignant Jack O’Connor has hit out at those who predicted Kildare would be on the end of a beating in the Leinster final.

While not naming those who made such assertions, the Kildare manager felt there was disrespect shown to his team in the build-up to the game.

“I'm not going to sit here and start critiquing Dublin,” he said when asked if there were any weaknesses in the All-Ireland champions after their smallest winning margin in a Leinster final since 2013. 

“I'm more interested in Kildare. I thought some of the commentary during the week was a bit over the top about people talking about getting trimmings and getting hammerings and four and five goals and all that.

“Maybe those people don't realise that those Kildare players are putting the same effort into it as every other county. We're all putting a lot of time into it so that was never going to happen. 

“From a Kildare point of view, we set up pretty well, we had a game plan that lads stuck to by and large, with just a little bit of composure up the other end I thought we could have made a right game of it.” 

O’Connor later suggested Dublin might be building towards peaking to claim a seventh consecutive All-Ireland title. 

“I think they’ll probably have to improve a bit if they’re going to go the distance but who’s to say that improvement isn’t in them? They might be just timing their run and there’s only one day you need to peak, I suppose, and you know when that is.” 

O’Connor rued the number of shots Kildare kicked short - seven - as he did the injuries to Kevin Feeley, Eoin Doyle, and Paul Cribbin which deprived him of their talents for the game. 

“The Dublins and the Kerrys and the Tyrones and that can afford to be without a couple of players, whereas we probably wouldn’t. That’s the harsh reality of it and we’ve had our share of injuries, particularly for this game which was very disappointing for those three players after the length of time they have soldiered for Kildare that they weren’t part of this today.

“Regardless of the result, I thought the Kildare players showed massive heart out there. I don’t know how ye guys saw it but they did we asked of them. A little bit of composure on the finishing and that would have been very interesting after the last water break.” 

Dessie Farrell hopes Hill 16 will be open for Saturday week’s All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo. 

“That will be a decision outside us, it will be made by a higher authority but it would be great to see it happen. It is fantastic to see crowds and spectators back.

“For some players, it probably does not cost them a thought but then for others it definitely does and they get energy from the crowd and the atmosphere. It is great for those who can get tickets.”

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