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Monday 20 November 2017

O'Neill is eager to avoid 'curse'

Boss defends use of goggles against recent 'nonsense'

Cian O’Neill revealed that Kildare have been using occlusion goggles during training sessions. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cian O’Neill revealed that Kildare have been using occlusion goggles during training sessions. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

It's not exactly Biddy Early or the 1951 Mayo curse but still, Cian O'Neill has a theory.

"I always had a thought in my head, I called it 'The curse of Thank GAA it's Friday'," the Kildare manager explained on Saturday when he faced the GAA hackery for his pre Leinster final press conference.

"Being serious, 90 per cent - I didn't do the exact stats on this - but I'd say 90 per cent of people who appeared on that show lost at the weekend (after the show was aired).

"And that's not the fault of the show. But I just think that players don't need that in Championship. Because there's enough pressure on them at the moment."

O'Neill's comments were in the context of a question about his and his Kildare team's recent appearance on RTE's GAA Nua programme, aired last Monday week.

Though he copped some flak for the revelation that Kildare's player had worn occlusion goggles during some training drills to enhance anticipation, O'Neill said his only problem with the programme was its timing.

"I though it was a great idea because there's not a lot of education out there on the level of professionalism from amateurs in a game like ours," he outlined.

"But I thought it would have been better placed outside the season.

"There was access into training sessions, into match day. You would have seen all that.

"And I think that's brilliant. The public need to see all that. But I really felt for anyone who was in the show and then loses at the weekend."

The goggles, O'Neill reiterated, are "an incredible tool for a very small part of our game. And a very small part of a lot of games.

"In Gaelic games, the key rationale behind the goggles is that they help with reaction time, with anticipation.

"They've nothing got to do with a kick or a hand-pass or anything like that. Some of the rubbish that you might have heard out there….

"Where they're being used in our set-up is that, when the ball is coming at you at speed, you can't see the last three metres of the ball.

"So you're trying to read the direction and the speed of the ball."

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