Cian O’Neill admitted his disappointment in how his comments were portrayed in the media in the build-up to their Leinster SFC semi-final against Dublin.
Kildare overcame Longford last Sunday after a replay to set-up yesterday’s meeting with Jim Gavin’s side and O’Neill was quoted after the game as saying “we are going to win that match”.
The Kildare manager’s comments were portrayed by many to be a bold prediction ahead of their meeting with the five-in-a-row chasing All-Ireland champions, however, following their defeat he expressed his disappointment at being quoted out of context.
“It was portrayed totally differently,” said O’Neill.
“It’s moving away from the game here but I was very disappointed with that because I hear often time and time again about the media and how they struggle with access for managers or players. I think that’s a perfect example of why that access has been withdrawn and pulled back over the years.
“There was three or four of you who were maybe in that room and the question was, ‘Now that you’ve progressed to next week are you going to Croke Park to take the defeat and then get ready for the qualifiers or are you going to try and win the match?’
“And I said, ‘We’re going to beat Dublin. We’re going up to beat Dublin, we’re not going with any inferiority complex.’ But the question wasn’t referenced and obviously, the rest of my answer wasn’t referenced. That’s disappointing.
“It was sly, it was devious and I suppose there was an element of instant gratification to try and get a headline and I’m sure it did. But you know, what do you do? I try to be honest when I answer questions and really what I was saying was, ‘We are going up to win the match – we’re not going up to accept defeat – and then see where it takes us.’
“I think anyone who was in the room knows exactly how that was conducted, that interview. I’m disappointed but it didn’t affect our preparations. It probably gave people plenty to talk about during the week, but swings and roundabouts. Ye will have less people talking to ye, ‘ye’ obviously being a generic point there before I get rattled on that one as well if that keeps on happening.”
Kildare gave Dublin their fill of it yesterday in Croke Park but Jim Gavin’s side proved too good in the end running away in the second half to win by 0-26 to 0-11.
However, Kildare trailed by just four at half-time having fallen six points behind early on, showing great character to get back into the game and had they converted one of their three gilt-edged goal chances it could have been a different game altogether.
“If you’re going to beat Dublin, it’s very difficult to outscore them on points with the way they set up and how efficient and ruthless they are,” said O’Neill
“So I think you need to take every chance you can get. I think if you remember two years ago in the Leinster final, we had a critical one on one chance and that would have brought it back to three in the second half. And then they kicked on towards the end.
“Today, we created three chances, probably four, but three gilt-edged chances. But didn’t get anything of any of them. Sometimes you might get a point off them and there’s a bit of positivity.
“But when we had them, we didn’t take them. It’s great that we were creating them – because we weren’t earlier in the year – but you need to take them. And I thought it would have made the game more competitive because we were 12-7 down when we had the second chance. And all of the sudden that would have been 0-12 to 1-7. And all of a sudden it’s, ‘Jesus, we have a real match on here.”
It wasn’t to be for Kildare in the end who are back on the road in two weeks time when they travel north to take on Antrim.