O’Connor says composure was crucial for Kildare

Kildare’s big target man Tomás O’Connor has spoken of his side “keeping their composure” to win Sunday’s NFL Division Two final with Tyrone.

Sunday’s game was even until the closing stages, when the Leinster outfit pulled away, and O’Connor was crediting his midfielders for making the difference.

“We kept our composure around the middle – it was one of those games that you’d think could run away from you but we’ve been in that position before and come back. We kept going and it worked out.

“Pádraig (Fogarty) came on and was absolutely brilliant. He’s been doing that all year in training, he came on and did what he had to do. It was a wonderful feeling (coming towards the end) we’ve put in so much work for the last few years so it’s great to come out on the right side.”

O’Connor agreed that he and his colleagues had repaid some of the faith shown in them by manager Kieran McGeeney in recent years.

“He’s had faith in us from day one. It’s taken four years but we’ve done it at last. In the last ten minutes it went right for us at the right time. Everything went right for us from then on, though it probably wasn’t the best game from a neutral point of view. Still, a win’s a win and we’ve been threatening that.”

Late in the first half on Sunday the powerful full-forward went for a high ball in the square and scrambled it over the bar, but he’s not been thinking too much about the new square ball rule which comes in later this year.

“That (chance) could have gone either way, the keeper came out and did well, so I tried to tap it over the bar, which worked out.

“I haven’t thought too much about the new rule – I suppose it changes the emphasis on keeping out of the square the whole time. It’s a rule that’s coming in so we’ll just have to go by it.”

O’Connor dismissed suggestions Kildare might have been concerned they wouldn’t make the breakthrough.

“We weren’t worried, we just wanted to get to the next level, to get a national title. It’s in us. Tyrone haven’t lost a game all year so it’s nice to get the win over them.”

His manager said the big man finds it hard to win frees because of his size, but O’Connor will not be changing the way he plays any time soon.

“I’m not conscious of that,” said O’Connor. “I suppose a lighter lad might go down a little bit easier but I’m not conscious of it. If it’s a free it’s a free, if not I’ll try to win the ball and lay it off as best I can. I don’t want to be diving either. It wouldn’t be in my game to go down easy, but if you can win a free for the team, that’s fine.”


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