WHILE there was precious little good news for Kildare on the pitch on Sunday, there was at least some positive developments off it.
Long-term injury absentees Daryl Flynn, Eamonn Callaghan and Dermot Earley are all getting closer to full fitness. Callaghan was the only one of that trio to get game-time against Dublin in the National League while Earley was ruled out after the warm-up, during which he injured his back. Other than that, the two-time All-Star would have been among the substitutes.
“Dermot (Earley) actually got injured in the warm-up. His back went into a bit of spasm,” McGeeney revealed after the game although he was able to introduce Hugh Lynch, another of Kildare’s cruciate ligament victims.
“We’ve a few problems in that area (midfield). It wouldn’t be fair to say just eight and nine, the break ball was a problem today for us, (Paul) Flynn must have picked up seven or eight on his own. It’s an area we need to work on.”
There was better news for McGeeney the day before when Daryl Flynn played the second half of Moorefield’s Aldridge Cup semi-final victory against St Laurence’s. Flynn has been out of action since last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
“Daryl (Flynn) put in a half and did okay,” said McGeeney who was glad to see Callaghan back in the fold.
“It was good to see Leper back, he got on the ball well, he did well when he came in.”
Having decided to rest his under-21 players, McGeeney was eventually forced to introduce Daniel Flynn to a struggling midfield. Under-21 centre-back Fergal Conway didn’t tog out because of injury.
“For a lot of those (U21) fellas, they had three games in a week, the likes of Niall Kelly, even Daniel (Flynn). It’s not really fair on them to ask them to play a fourth game in ten days.
“You just can’t ask that of people but they’re pushing hard for places both on the senior and the U-21s and hopefully they’ll get better.”
As for the result, a sobering 13-point defeat, McGeeney is unsure about the damage such a big loss will inflict on his side.
“We won’t know whether there will be any lasting effects until next week or the weeks thereafter. We did okay in the first half and just okay; we could have been a few points up if we had played smarter football but then it went from bad to worse.
“Probably midfield was our main problem area; we just couldn’t get a foothold in it and get a break or win any primary possession. In all parts of the second half we just couldn’t get our hands on the ball and to such an extent I actually feel sorry for our defenders; in one-on-one situations they competed well but there was so much ball coming in with runners coming from everywhere.”
With the Dubs potentially meeting Kildare in the semi-finals of this year’s championship, Kidlare were left under no illusions about the work they have to do to try and catch up between now and then.
“Dublin are a fair bit ahead of us and that is where we need to get to if we are to exist,” said McGeeney. “That is the bench mark in Leinster for all us of who are chasing Dublin and looking at it today we have a fair bit of work to do.”