Ryan lauds improved Lilywhites showing
IF anything, we're probably a little further away from unmasking the true face of this Kildare football team after Sunday's scarcely plausible 10-point rout of Down in Páirc Esler.
But at least they've answered a few questions asked within the confines of their dressing-room after the botch job that was their Leinster semi-final loss to Meath.
"What goes on in the camp…people don't realise what goes on in training. And they don't realise what's going on in player's heads or what other circumstances are there," said Jason Ryan, somewhat cryptically, after a successful rescue mission of the Lilywhite's season in Newry.
"They were certainly hurt. Disappointed in how they played rather than how people thought they played. They have certain expectations of themselves. We have expectations of ourselves as management.
"And a lot of the things we wanted to work a certain way against Meath didn't quite happen. But that's gone. We felt we learned from it and we're looking forward to training this week and preparing to play against another team."
That other team has been confirmed as Clare, the Division 4 promotion side very much on the up after a ballsy performance against Kerry in Ennis a couple of weeks back.
It is, whichever way you those to weight this one up, an eminently winnable game for Ryan's men.
On Sunday, they held Down to a single point from play in the first half of a match wherein the tension reflected the consequences for both teams. They were aggressive and even a little confrontational. A marked improvement on the Meath effort.
"We've said all year, this is a team in transition," Ryan insisted. "It's great for their experience now. We want them to play the best teams that they possibly can and learn the most we possibly can.
"Because we have a lot of guys who are at the start of their inter-county career rather than at the end of their inter-county career."