Kildare manager Cian O’Neill cut a dejected figure after his side narrowly lost out to Meath in a result that puts promotion to Division 1 of the National Football League in grave doubt.
Kildare had led by five points at the halfway stage but a laclustre second half where they only scored a point allowed their rivals to come and take the points courtesy of a 71st minute Barry Dardis penalty.
“It’s a very disappointing result, the conditions obviously didn’t help but one point from 35 minutes is not good enough and it’s not that we didn’t create the chances as I just felt we lacked composure in the second half and we were losing leaders which was quite dramatic for us”.
“We lost Ben McCormack early in the game and he was tearing it up for the first quarter so being forced into a change there before your captain and keeper both got injured aswell certainly made things difficult”.
“All of a sudden we were forced into three early substitutions which obviously weren’t part of any plan and that left us with very little fresh legs to bring in for the last few minutes when we needed to push on and try and hold on to that narrow lead that we had”.
“That definitely hurt us but ultimately it came down to composure and we had a couple of great chances at the end there from 15 or 20 metres but we didn’t take either of them and every point against the breeze when you are trying to hang in is like two points and that let us down as well as our handling of the ball but to their credit Meath put a lot of pressure on us and you have to give them credit for that but we are disappointed with ourselves”
The loss of three crucial players to injury and Cian O’Donoghue seeing out the game even though he was clearly not right didn’t help things and when you add in two black cards to Mick O’Grady and Keith Cribbin it was far from a perfect situation.
“Cian O’Donoghue was practically on one leg at the end but we didn’t have any more substitutions and we were down to 13 men come the end with Keith Cribbin getting a black card after giving away the penalty and I know it was a scrambled tackle from Keith but even still with the black card in the first half, what guys have to understand is that when you go down to 14 everyone has to work harder and sometimes that can hurt you not at the time because we weathered that fairly well but it cost them at the back end of the game and a lot of learning needs to be taken on from that”, O’Neill said.
The Kildare boss didn’t want to get drawn too much into the refereeing performance of Tipperary’s Derek O’Mahony but admits he was desperately disappointed at how the Meath goal manufactured itself.
“I was disappointed with the black cards as for me a deliberate pull down is that while a check is where you take a man out of the play and that seems pretty clear to me and you just have to get on with it really”.
“I’m not sure what Keith Cribbin’s black card was for with regards to the penalty as it was so far away from me but what I was more disappointed with was how a Meath player got free behind our defence and he wasn’t tracked”.
If you have a story or want to send photos or videos to us please contact the KildareNow editorial team. via our Facebook, via our email at [email protected] or on 045 409350 during office hours.