Friday 14 December 2018

Kildare crave free weekend kickstart

Cian O'Neill. Pic: Sportsfile
Cian O'Neill. Pic: Sportsfile

It's a minor consolation, given the galling nature of their O'Byrne Cup crash, but Cian O'Neill is hoping a game-free weekend can refocus Kildare minds ahead of the Allianz League.

Instead of facing Louth in Drogheda on Sunday, the Lilies can divert all of their energies to fine-tuning preparations for their February 5 Division Two opener away to Meath.

"We certainly didn't come here to lose," their manager said of Sunday's two-point defeat to a rookie Dublin team. "We will analyse that match because there's huge, key areas - and reoccurring areas - that are not happening for us. Game management being one of them.

"You saw some of the frees we got at the end and we just kicked the ball back to the opposition. Scoring percentage is not where it should be. Turnovers, and then turnovers turning into scores - that's what we can control. That'll be our focus for the next two weeks.

"We had four good victories; we beat Roscommon in a challenge, won the three group stage matches and it would have been nice to keep it going.

Flip Side

"The flip side is that it gives us a big weekend to control what we're doing in terms of training and preparation. Once you're in the league it's all go, seven matches in 10 weeks."

O'Neill has predicted a big year for Daniel Flynn even though the ex-Aussie Rules recruit endured a frustrating day against the Dubs, first half goal apart.

"I'd like to think Daniel will be a big player for us this year if we keep him fit and healthy," he said. "For two years he was in Australia and last year he had reoccurring injuries.

"Daniel's a big player for us and I think he can only get better as the season goes on ... he can do things that no other player can, and he just needs more training and more time."

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