KILDARE manager Cian O’Neill played down hopes of Daniel Flynn getting back involved with the Kildare set up this summer when speaking after last night’s draw against Roscommon in a game to celebrate Robertstown GFC’s centenary year.
Flynn, nominated for an All-Star in the last two seasons, spent the early part of this year in America after withdrawing from the panel before Christmas due to personal reasons but set tongues wagging about an impending return to a white jersey when he returned to the country last month, He featured for his club Johnstownbridge in recent club games but from O’Neill’s words, it’s unlikely that we will see Flynn play for Kildare this summer.
“Dan is home and he is back kicking ball with the club. We’ve met and had a chat but Dan has a lot of his own priorities at the moment. To be fair to the man, he was always honest and up front about what his focus was for the year but we said that we’d keep in touch over the coming weeks. Myself, more than anyone, would love to see Dan back in a Kildare shirt but you have to be fair to players as well, they are all adults and all humans. We’ll keep in touch and see where he is at. The most important thing is that he is back in college getting his education sorted and back playing club as well, which is great,” said O’Neill.
There is more encouraging news regarding Niall Kelly. The Athy man has spent the year so far on his travels but he is due back in Ireland at the weekend and O’Neill is hopeful of meeting him as soon as possible to gauge his intentions.
“Niall’s intention is to be home at the weekend. We have been in touch every couple of weeks. He’s in good form, as would I after four months in Thailand, and there is no doubt that he wants to get back into the club scene. I’m looking forward to sitting down with him and having a chat and seeing where he is but I know he is looking forward to being back playing football,” said O’Neill.
While the game in Robertstown gave the team a chance to get a good run out, it finished in a 2-18 to 4-12 draw, there were concerns when both Cian O’Donoghue and Eoin Doyle were forced out of the game but it is the injury to the team captain that is the most worrying.
“Cian got a bang in the first half and then another after the break so that was just precautionary, we weren’t going to risk it. Eoin is a little bit more worrying. He came off before he felt a full tear but he is definitely conscious that something happened. The lads will assess it and we’ll see how it is but it’s awful shame because he’s our captain, our leader, and you could see that we were a little bit more porous than we normally would be when he went off the field,” said O’Neill.
The game was as notable for the number of Kildare players who didn’t tog out as those that did and O’Neill gave a run down of Kildare’s injured parties.
“Ben is moving along nicely with his thumb. He has a further appointment on Friday which will be the last medical appointment to see where he is at and how it has healed. The surgeons have done a great job and the medical team are working with him on his movement and his strength there. You can see it in his eyes, he is hungry to be back, he is out there kicking ball and he wants to be back. He had a phenomenal league for us until he got injured.”
“I really feel for Paul, it’s very frustrating. We’ve worked through the stages that the radiographers and the surgeons have been saying, every step so far hasn’t worked in terms of easing the pain. It’s pelvis/groin injury, similar to osteitis pubis. It’s a notorious injury for being a slow healer but we are four months now so it’s particularly. It’s hard luck on him after the brilliant year he had last year and the brilliant championship season.”
“Fionn hurt a groin in a club match and he is two weeks at this stage. It’s going to take another week or two to heal.”
“Chris tweaked his hamstring the weekend before last so didn’t play for his club last weekend. He’s not too far away but at the same time we’ll set a realistic target of the club championship weekend and hopefully we’ll see where he is then.”
“It’s Adam’s hips and groins and that’s a long term thing managed over the last few years by Moorefield and ourselves. We said we’d have a look at him tonight, he didn’t play for his club last weekend, just to see if we could reintroduce him but it was still at him. We said it’s too close to club and too close to county to risk him.”
“Podge played a club match two weeks ago and was quite sore after it. He went in for a check up on the Monday and realised it was a hernia. It was a quick turnaround and he was operated on last Monday so you are looking at six to eight weeks there. He’s a great kid and he was here tonight and wants to be very much part of it.”
“DJ picked up a knock at the weekend, he would have been released tonight anyway because the U20s are playing on Wednesday night. He would played in that game but again, he’s part of the group and is here tonight to support the lads.”
“Cotsy was released to train with the club tonight. He put in a huge week last week and now we have a down week so that we are not forcing him too much. He is back training, back on the pitch and was very lively last Tuesday night. He’ll get a club session tonight, back with us on Thursday and we’ll see where we go from there in terms of getting a full match.”
“Kevin picked up a hamstring injury in training last Thursday so you are looking at two to four weeks there unfortunately.”
Those injuries, along with the withdrawals of James Murray and Aaron Masterson, have left the squad a little light so after consulting with under 20 manager Gay Campbell O’Neill has called up four of that panel in recent weeks.
“We only four training sessions in a whole month, which is not much, but we have four other players in on a training basis. We have Darragh Ryan (Sarsfields), Darragh Kirwan (Naas), Liam O’Flynn (Celbridge) and Niall O’Sullivan (Maynooth) in. Myself and Gay had a good chat and he has been great in terms of advising and guiding on the players he has at the moment relative to what we need because we have lost players to injury. We’ve brought the lads in on a training basis but the four of them have really put their hands up and shaken things up for the couple of sessions they have been in there. We’ll review the championship panel after the club weekend,” said O’Neill.
It’s not all bad news and a number of players who carried injuries through the league proved their fitness during the game.
“Slatts (David Slattery) is back after his shoulder dislocation. Kevin Flynn only really got his first bit of football in the last round. Conor Hartley pretty much missed the second half of the league so great to see him back in there. Eoghan O’Flaherty too so that’s all a positive in that regard,” said O’Neill.
The Kildare manager paid tribute to their hosts for the night and said that Robertstown should be proud of the club they have grown into, now in their 100th year.
“I was blown away. I’m out of the county 23 years now so I was a very young child the last time I was here and how the place has grown and developed is phenomenal. The pitch, the astroturf, inside they have a fantastic gym downstairs and then upstairs another smaller gym. They are a credit to themselves and a credit to Kildare I think and they have been nothing but brilliant to us since we arrived this evening,” said O’Neiil.