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Sunday 16 December 2018

Kildare focus on breaking their losing streak

Cian O'Neill
Cian O'Neill

Cian O'Neill quotes his former selector, Pádraig Brennan, when asked about the capacity of Kildare to be successful.

"He always says that potential is someone who doesn't play well quite often enough," O'Neill explains as he prepares to take a Kildare that has lost its last 11 competitive matches to Tullamore this Sunday (2.0) to face a Carlow team travelling rapidly in the opposite direction, albeit from a much lower starting point.

"And I think that's what has been a challenge in Kildare, not just for my tenure. But for many, many years.

"I think last year is a perfect example," he goes on.

"We clipped 1-21 against Laois, 2-16 against Meath to get to a Leinster final. We scored 1-17 against Dublin, which was the highest any team in the whole Championship scored against Dublin.

"And then we went into the last round of the qualifiers and totally underperformed. So that kind of sums up Kildare in recent years in my opinion."

It was June 17 last summer when the title of 'Leinster's Second Best Team' was awarded to Kildare on a unanimous decision.

In Tullamore that day, they beat Meath by 2-16 to 0-13, a victory more commanding even than the scoreline suggests.

They don't do optimism in half measures in Kildare but the excitement around their rise flowed freely at that mid-point of last summer.

Disappointing

Then, they lost 11 matches in-a-row, the brass tacks of which were another Leinster final loss to Dublin, a disappointing qualifier exit to Armagh and a pointless - literally - campaign in Division 1 and immediate demotion back to the second rung.

"There's no doubt about that and it can affect confidence and the mood in the camp so that was something we had to work through after the league," O'Neill adds.

"But we worked hard and confidence is coming back."

The Lilywhites are hopeful that Kevin Feely's calf injury will heal in time to play in Sunday's Leinster clash.

The influential midfielder limped out of Athy's Kildare SFC opener on May 5 and has only taken a light part in training since.

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