THERE was only one real talking point when Kieran McGeeney came from the dressing room in to the press room last Sunday evening. The foul that wasn’t.
The Armagh man isn’t one to shout and roar but you could see he was incensed, angry and annoyed. His side were denied a replay by the wrong decision of a Meath man. Yet again decisions went against the Lilies and McGeeney was a frustrated man.
“At the end of the day I can’t go on about referees much longer. I just can’t. He (Andrew McLoughlin) didn’t do anything wrong. If you watched seven replays of it it would still show he didn’t do anything wrong.
“Up front I thought our two boys were getting pulled all over the place. In fairness they are big strong lads and they stayed on their feet but I can’t keep going on and on about it. It’s annoying,” said the Kildare manager.
“Over the last number of years bigger and bigger decisions have been costing teams and they won’t address it. You still have the same fellas sitting up there saying there’s nothing wrong. The time added on today was another thing. Something like that should be bread and butter stuff for the officials. It’s hard to take and it’s harder for me not to say more about it,” added the Armagh man.
Kildare, who trailed Dublin for most of the game, had just came back from a four point deficit in the closing stages to earn what many people thought was a draw.
The Lilies played second fiddle to the boys in blue for the most part but Eamonn Callaghan’s goal and a point ensured a close ending and such a come back, McGeeney says, is testament to the strength his team have, however, he says, they now need to be able to push on.
“Kildare in the past, if they lost their All Stars Peter Kelly and Dermot Earley and Daryl Flynn, they probably wouldn’t have been able to play with any team.
“We’ve shown that we’ve put together a decent panel but you’d still like to move on but we’re finding it hard to get over that line,” admitted the manager.
The Lilies significantly reduced their wide count on Sunday but nonetheless they still let chances go a begging, while at the other end the opposition were a lot more ruthless aside for some wayward shooting in the second half.
“We had chances. Most of the free kicks we got were in and around the 45 and we should have got a few of them but Dublin had a couple of bad wides themselves. Their (Dublin’s) defensive system was good and you’re not going to get as many shots off them as you do against other teams,” remarked McGeeney.
Once again Kildare enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the second half. They trailed by six at the interlude but once Eoghan O’Gara was given his marching orders McGeeney’s men got on top and came agonisingly close to earning a replay.
“Sometimes teams get their purple patch in the first half and sometimes in the second. Sometimes they get it for 15 minutes and sometimes for 25 minutes. We might be establishing a pattern but you take it when it comes. It would be great if it happened for 70 minutes but you can’t expect that against quality teams.
“At half time we had as many attacks as they did but it’s all about what you do with them. Their system is that they drop their wing backs deeper and tried to take Leper (Eamonn Callaghan) and Paudie (Padraig O’Neill) out of the game. They put their wing backs right in to the corners for the kick outs. You have to go with the other teams’ tactics. I don’t believe a team can sustain it at 100 miles an hour,” he insisted.
There will be no shot at the Leinster title yet again. Instead McGeeney will square up to his former team mate Justin McNulty in the qualifiers. He says he will have no problem lifting his team for the encounter in O’Moore Park. Lets hope so.