McGeeney: Daunting task ahead for Lilies

As you would expect, Kieran McGeeney fronted up to this latest setback.

For 15 minutes, uttering the best part of 3,000 words, he spoke of what and how he thought it went wrong for Kildare.

He vowed to come back stronger — and the county have, every time under his reign in the qualifiers — but conceded it will be his most difficult assignment yet as manager.

“It’s going to be tough. There is no point in saying otherwise. We are after coming off 14-point tanking in the second half. It’s going to be hard to lift them.

“I could be very bravado here and give you loads of headlines but there is not much point in telling you otherwise (that) the next two weeks are going to be tough.

“It will be the biggest job that I’ve had since I come here.”

McGeeney pinpointed the middle third as the area which let Kildare down most as well as bemoaning the sloppiness in his team’s passing.

“We had a good start and we seemed to be pushing but then cross-field balls around the middle of the field and just giving the ball away constantly… anytime there was any sort of run at all, we just gave it away and then in the second half once the second goal went in we just fell apart.”

After taking a five-point lead, he agreed Paul Mannion’s ninth minute goal was a major response by Dublin.

“It was a big swing. We had been playing pretty well, we had three attacks in a row and we had to give the ball away, it was sort of ping pong in the middle and we were down the corner of the Hogan Stand, two or three men in possession and we passed the ball straight to a Dublin player and the ball was in the back of the net.”

He defended his tactic of refusing to play a sweeper against Dublin despite the quality of their attack.

“It is not so much one-on-one with Dublin, you have to pick up… you are always going to have numbers back anyway because they attack in numbers there.

“You sort of saw that in the league, when you go back over it, there is never a problem with the numbers there, it is the contact.

“They are playing this year (with) what I would regard is a slow whistle. There is contact allowed in the game now and you can’t just let fellas walk through.

“I’ve heard over the last 12 months that I’m tactically naïve and perhaps I am. I would like to know what you do tactically to hold onto the ball, in terms of not fist-passing it away and kick-passing it away.

“Most games we play we create more scoring chances than your opponent which you’re supposed to devise in your tactics but that’s twice now against Dublin we’ve come up short. If it’s me, that’ll soon be found out.”

There was even some room for self-deprecating humour from McGeeney too. Queried if he had any wisdom to impart to Meath ahead of facing Dublin, he smiled wryly: “I’m sure they won’t be looking for advice from me.”


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