McGeeney reaching his goals
Lilies boss thriving off the criticism as Westmeath mauling shows side on up
KIERAN McGEENEY would have no problem being described as stubborn as a mule.
But, then, it is a trait that he views as desirable; along with hard work, extreme loyalty and trust. So when someone tells him he can't do something, he likes to disprove the theory. For the purposes of self-improvement and to show that he can.
In the first part of his stellar playing career, kick-passing was deemed a serious weakness. By the time Armagh were placing a stranglehold on Ulster and the Mullaghbawn man was lifting the Sam Maguire in 2002, his delivery with the left peg was the genesis for much of Steven McDonnell's and Ronan Clarke's scoring.
It's the same as a manager. Johnny Doyle has to be playing in the full-forward line? Well, McGeeney says he actually scores more from play when operating in the middle third and, overall, his industry is of more use there.
The clamour for the skipper's relocation closer to the opposition posts had much to do with Kildare's failure to score goals last year.
That trend continued until a fortnight ago, but now the Lilies have raised the green flag seven times in three outings. With the three lines of two restored as an attacking ploy, they are looking deadly dangerous again.
Of course, not bagging three-pointers was a problem, one that McGeeney, Niall Carew and John Rafferty wanted to address for the sake of the team regardless of what was being said by the media analysts. But disproving critics makes turning it around all the more enjoyable.
"When people tell you, you can't do something, some of us like to prove them wrong," he grinned after yesterday's dismantling of Westmeath.
"We had a couple more chances. There were some good saves by the 'keeper and things like that. Maybe we were a wee bit sloppy ourselves. We have been working harder at getting the ball in there. Some days they go in and some days they don't. We like to show people we are capable of getting them."
They could have had six or seven as the movement and offloading was sumptuous at times. So too was the point-scoring, mind you, with Mikey Conway, James Kavanagh, Pádraig O'Neill, Eoghan O'Flaherty and Alan Smith landing some wonderful scores.
Kavanagh scored the first of his two goals in the 18th minute and though David Glennon converted a 34th-minute penalty, Westmeath still trailed by 1-13 to 1-4 at half time.
Denis Glennon was on fire for Westmeath, but with Mick Foley dominant in midfield, the Tyrrellspass man was starved of possession.
Tomás O'Connor fed Emmet Bolton for a clinically finished goal in the 44th minute to remove any doubt about the result, Smith timed his offload to Kavanagh perfectly eight minutes later to ensure a closing stroll for the hosts.