Tickling bellies is not something that one expects from an inter county manager but that’s what Kieran McGeeney says he was up to at full time last Sunday.
At the final whistle former selector Paul Grimley had to play the peace maker. Seamus McEnaney and McGeeney were having a spat, their heads were locked together. Handbags at full time really and when asked what went on McGeeney made the hacks laugh out loud.
“It seemed to be more ticking bellies rather than anything else!” joked the Armagh man.
However, the boss was disappointed with himself for getting involved in such an incident be it much ado about nothing.
He added: “I’d be annoyed with myself because you have to have discipline on the sideline as well as on the pitch.”
Returning to the topic of Kildare’s win and performance though and McGeeney was far from disappointed. He was happy with how his side responded while under pressure, happy with two points and happy with another tight win against Leinster opposition but never entirely happy.
“We’ve played Meath at this time of the year twice before and we didn’t get the points. Giving a soft goal away at the end seemed to be history repeating itself but the fellas dug in deep and worked hard.
“We still didn’t take enough of our chances and I feel that we could have won by more. Meath didn’t have their full contingent out there and we had a lot more chances than they did and we gave away a soft goal but it’s still a good battling result and two points.
“Meath are Meath and they will always fight. It was good to see the fellas reacting the right way today. They chipped back the points and there were some good scores too. There were some nice pieces of play to get those points but we seemed to give them (Meath) handy points up the other end from free kicks,” admitted McGeeney.
The boss wasn’t happy with how the goal was conceded but luckily it only proved to be a blight on Hugh McGrillen’s copy book. The Celbridge man had a good game over all but had the game not gone the way of Kildare his performance would only have been remembered for one thing.
“He (Hugh McGrillen) wasn’t even looking at me going in there! He had an excellent game for most of it but for me the most pleasing thing was how they reacted. They turned around and got the scores even though Meath were picking off free kicks,” commented the manager.
And what of his star man?
McGeeney was as pleased a punch with how Rob Kelly played but the Straffan man wasn’t the only one singled out.
“Rob in particularly, Roli (Sweeney) and young Fionn (Dowling) when he came on were excellent. Fionn was a great target man. Youth and enthusiasm go hand in hand and Fionn is the type that just wants the ball, sometimes game plans go out the window and you just give him the ball and he does something with it. It’s refreshing. I thought Tommy (Moolick) done well in the first half as well. He broke a lovely couple of balls for us so for two 19 year olds (Moolick and Dowling) they are definitely showing a hunger for the ball, which is infectious amongst some of the older players.
“Rob (Kelly) played very well in full forward and hopefully that will be the start of it for him. Last year we didn’t have much of him because of injury so if he could settle in and do that every Sunday for us we’d be happy,” he said.
The Lilies are now safe from relegation and promotion is now on the cards but McGeeney know what a difficult task that will be particular with a trip to Omagh next on the agenda.
“We’re probably safe enough now although I don’t know the mathematics of it. We’re sitting on seven points but it’s that tight you could still face relegation. I know Micky (Harte) was here watching us and I’m sure he has a bag full of notes to take in to Omagh. We play Tyrone next and they’re behind us but if they beat us that puts them in line for promotion. It’s great to have those type of games coming up in the run in to championship. They’re going to be tough because playing Tyrone in Omagh is never an easy task and this time will be no different,” insisted the boss.