Kildare forward Johnny Doyle believes Seanie Johnston’s transfer to the county had nothing to do with their poor form this year and called on his county board to ensure Kieran McGeeney remains in their managerial hot seat.
The mid-season transfer of Johnston from Cavan and the ensuing media spotlight it brought on Kildare encouraged rumours of discontent within the squad. Doyle, however, rejects that notion, and insists any disquiet is the same encountered by any squad in the country.
“Obviously every lad wants to play and if you are not playing it’s only natural to blame the manager and there would be plenty of that but I think in general, even the lads who are pushing hard to get on the team would like Kieran to stay on. Kieran is a very fair and honest manager and he wants the best for Kildare, the same as the players do,” said Doyle.
McGeeney’s fifth season in charge of the Lilywhites ended in disappointment when their Leinster hopes were dashed at the semi-final stage by Meath. Although they made it through the qualifiers to the All-Ireland quarter-finals, their dreams of lifting Sam Maguire were crushed by Cork. Despite that, Doyle believes McGeeney is the best man for Kildare heading into the 2013 season.
“It’s massive for us that Kieran stays on,” he said.
“Maybe from the outside looking in you might think managers are judged by results and that we didn’t win a whole lot, and you would have to agree with that and players and managers would feel the same.
“But to be involved and to see the levels of professionalism he brings and the extremes that he goes to in an attempt to achieve things is just phenomenal. I think for the benefit of Kildare football going forward it’s massive that Kieran stays and we’d be hoping that he would do that.”
While Doyle is very definite in his view of what McGeeney’s future should be, he is less sure of his own. Now 34, the Kildare captain set a record for an outfield player when he started his 63rd consecutive championship game against Cork but has yet to decide whether or not he will throw his lot in with the team next year.
“I haven’t thought about my future to be honest,” he said. “After a defeat like the Cork game, you are still a bit raw and need some time. I’ll get back into the club and give my best there because in fairness, county players are gone for a lot of the year and I know my own club are struggling more than ever with numbers.”
McGeeney is taking time to consider his future and the untimely passing of the father of selector Niall Carew, Kildare hurling legend Tony Carew, put the possibility of talks this week on hold. The county board have set no time limit for a decision but chairman John McMahon would not like to see the situation unresolved for too long.
“There is no deadline set at the moment but we don’t want things to be dragging on,” he said.
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