ANOTHER defeat, another calamitous performance from a referee and indeed a calamitous performance from his team ensured Kieran McGeeney wasn’t in top form at full time last Sunday evening.
His side had just been easily brushed aside by Monaghan, Brian Flanagan was sent off just before the second half got under way, a strange decision from Cavan official Joe McQuillen, and now the Lilies have no points from two so far in the 2012 Allianz Football League Division 2.
Kildare just didn’t fire on any cylinders, let alone on all cylinders and they now find themselves with zero points heading in to the break.
In terms of changes McGeeney brought Podge Fogarty and Ellistown’s Ken Donnelly in to the full forward line and it was quickly evident that the latter wasn’t up to the pace and he was called ashore after just 24 minutes of play. Donnelly’s replacement was Johnny Doyle and the Allenwood man hardly covered himself in glory after his introduction either.
In fairness Doyle was put in at midfield with Sweeney moving forward, a move that took the Moorefield man out of the game, having been faring alright in the centre up until that point. Perhaps putting Doyle further in would have worked better but that doesn’t seem to be on Kieran McGeeney’s agenda at the moment.
In defence Round Towers’ Mark Scanlon came in for the injured Peter Kelly and was also way off the pace and was given the runaround by Paul Finlay and it wasn’t just the fringe players that failed to show up. Celbridge’s Hugh McGrillen had a dreadful day at the office, Tommy O’Neill looks out of his depth at centre back, Mikey Conway and the aforementioned Doyle left their shooting boots at home, while the Lilies never really came to grips with Monaghan playing an extra man in defence and even McGeeney admitted that his team selection didn’t work out.
“We probably used more fringe players in the two games than we previously had and we hoped that they would step up but things haven’t worked out for them,” admitted the Armagh man.
He added: “I’m very disappointed but I can’t do much about it now. It’s very disheartening but that’s how it goes. It’s hard losing a player and it was hard to bounce back, we tried and it didn’t work.
The sending off affected us a good bit in the second half. We probably upped our game a wee bit but we just kept kicking it down the sweeper’s throat after that.”
McGeeney, as is par for the course now, wouldn’t be drawn on the performance of Cavan official Joe McQuillen nor be drawn on the row that erupted before half time, a row that was far more innocuous than it appeared in fairness.
“If you (the media) want to talk about the referee you should talk about him because that’s not my job anymore. I don’t know if there will be (an investigation in the row) and it will probably depend what you (the media) say. I do believe it solely depends on what you write.
“I didn’t really see what happened. There was something going on on the pitch and then it went to the sideline. There’s a lot of testosterone flowing out there and things happen and people don’t want to be seen to be backing down and that’s probably about the size of it. It’s happened and I’d say when you slow things down again it didn’t look like there was a whole pile happening. Joe (McQuillen) dealt with four people after half time and I take it that will be it unless something else comes out if it. Referees are outside my jurisdiction. They are the boss and we can’t do much about it and unfortunately that the way it is,” remarked McGeeney.
Kildare seriously missed the services of Two Mile House’s Peter Kelly, who was ruled out with a virus, and Ciaran Fitzpatrick, who is expected to be back to face Meath in the third round. After the two defeats the Lilies certainly need as full a compliment as possible if any hope of promotion is to be salvaged.
Yes, it might only be February, a good few months off the cut and thrust of championship, but promotion and glory in Division 2 were high on the agenda for Kildare supporters but it doesn’t look like they are going to get either now.