HE kicked three of them himself so John Doyle knows full well Kildare will have to greatly reduce their wide count of 17 against Wicklow to beat Meath on Sunday week.
Although manager Kieran McGeeney played down its significance, captain Doyle wasn’t and said there would be plenty of shooting practice before the Leinster SFC quarter-final at Croke Park.
“There’s a lot of work to do in front of goals,” he said.
“I’m sure it was double figures (in wides), I think it was nearly double figures at half time. So that tells its own tale. Maybe some of the ball going into the full-forward line wasn’t as we would have liked.
“The next step for us now is Meath. If we don’t get over that you can talk all you want about silverware... that’s all we’ll be focused on, the next day and hopefully we can put in a performance.
“As I say, get a bit better in front of goals and if we can do that we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Despite their management problems, Meath will be expected to put up a better fist of it than Wicklow, especially as the Lilywhites got the better of them in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final and revenge will be on their minds.
But Doyle insists it will only be over the next few days that they will focus on Seamus McEnaney’s side.
“In fairness, we haven’t thought about Meath at all. It’s an old cliche but you take one match at a time, you really do.
“You can only take whatever challenge is in front of you. Meath is a different challenge again.
“It’s all about championship and I’m sure their league wasn’t what they wanted, probably the same as our own, but they’ll be fit, they’ll be strong and they’ll be mad to get at Kildare. We just have to meet that.”
Doyle, perhaps aware of being diplomatic, believes the eight-point margin of the victory over Meath last time out flattered them.
“It’s funny the way last year went. I remember looking back at the game and with about five minutes to go there was two points in it, all of a sudden then we kicked on and the scores just went over.
“They’re the things you dream about and we went on and won by several points. But they were right in the game until the end when we just got the couple of scores that probably put the nails in the coffin.”
Doyle made light of his repositioning from the forward line to midfield where he sparkled in Portlaoise on Sunday. In a similar role to Tyrone’s Brian Dooher, Doyle was everywhere, creating links and initiating tackles.
“It probably gives me a little bit more freedom out there to get forward and give a ball into the lads inside,” reckoned the Allenwood man.
“Sure when you’re a young lad like me it’s no problem!”
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