There was disa-ppointment for the Kildare senior hurlers in Pairc Tailteann, Navan last Saturday afternoon, as The Lilywhites’ season came to an end following a narrow defeat to Cillian Farrell’s Meath in the Christy Ring Cup quarter-final.
Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the game, Kildare manager Willie Sunderland, pictured, was hugely disappointed to have lost out to the Royals on the day, though he did offer his congratulations to Meath, who got one over on Kildare’s following their reversal against the same opposition in the Allianz Hurling League Division 2B decider last month.
“Losing is always horrible, no matter how you do it. Today was no different. Genuinely didn’t think we would. That was over-confident, but I thought we’d have just enough in the tank to get past them, but it wasn’t to be,” Sunderland stated.
As regards the general outlook of the game, Sunderland did feel that the team started to revert to type rather than sticking to the game plan, although he did think at a certain point in the game that they might pushed on to secure the victory that they needed to progress.
“I don’t think we hurled to our ability to be honest. That’s a fine big pitch out there, and I don’t think we used it to our advantage. The game we’ve been trying to play is to try and get the ball and use it in the open spaces. We didn’t do that today, we really reverted back to type. We were always playing catch up really. There was a time when it was 0-7 to 0-5 where I thought if we had pushed on a little bit at that stage it might have made a difference.”
In terms of his own future as Kildare hurling supremo, Sunderland was non-committal for next year’s campaign, although he does feel there are a number of issues that have to be addressed if he is to continue.
“Next year I think it is going to be a totally different ball game (in Division 2A). I think the county as a whole needs to learn that. Total, utter support from everybody, and realise that if we’re going to be a hurling team, we have to be prepared properly with full, total backing. Not token backing, and not to be arguing about stupid things that I believe that should be there for the taking.”
“I’m to be reviewed after 12 months. I’m a realist, and somebody needs to make that decision. So, if they want to come back and talk to me I’ll be there to talk. Whether I’ll come back and get involved our not, that’s open to question. Certainly there are things I would need to see changed before I’d even contemplate it. I won’t say any more than that at the moment. I’ve learnt a lot this year. I was probably a little bit naïve coming in. I thought I was going to get certain things that just didn’t happen,” Sunderland added.