Cian O’Neill doesn’t want too much pressure to be placed upon the young cohort of players coming into the Kildare panel, citing the huge step up from underage football to senior as a completely different ball game.
There are 11 players from the All-Ireland U20 winning side that have made the cut in O’Neill’s panel, seven of whom are completely new to the setup.
Mark Barrett, DJ Earley, Aaron Masterson, Jason Gibbons, Tony Archbold, Padraig Nash and John O’Toole have all been brought in to be looked at, while Mark Dempsey, Brian McLoughlin, Jimmy Hyland and Aaron O’Neill all had varying levels of involvement last year in the senior side.
Some of them look primed to make an impact, but O’Neill is urging patience ahead of the new season and hopes that Kildare supporters don’t get too ahead of themselves when looking to the future.
“It’s not going to be easy on them, and I think that’s something you need to be careful with in terms of expectations on young players,” said O’Neill.
“I think it has been done a lot in Kildare over the years, and I think you need to be careful and you need to temper that because it’s a big difference between playing against 19 and 20 year olds week in week out, and then being thrown into a cauldron against lads who have nine or 10 years’ experience with physical development.
“What I do know is from chatting to them – and from the team building session today – is that they’re showing great aptitude and attitude. I’m really looking forward to working with them, but it is a step up and you need to understand that, because there is no comparison between U20s and senior. None, and I mean that seriously.”
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