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'It's a measure of the man' Kildare boss Cian O'Neill reveals how his skipper played with a broken thumb

17 July 2017 06:20
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'It's a measure of the man' Kildare boss Cian O'Neill reveals how his skipper played with a broken thumb

Manager Cian O'Neill revealed the centre-back insisted on playing despite suffering the break last week.

"It's a measure of the man," O'Neill said. "There was no way he wasn't going to be playing. He felt he could get through it and he put in a real stellar performance, considering there were obviously some parts he couldn't execute.

"But they were far superseded by the brilliant things he did, as he marshalled that defence for large periods."

O'Neill conceded Doyle was unlikely to be available for the Round 4 tie at the weekend against either Armagh or Monaghan.

While acknowledging Dublin were the superior team, O'Neill (below) suggested his side's lack of experience at the highest level had been a key element in the contest.

He pinpointed the period in the first-half when Dublin scored two goals and again in the first 10 minutes of the second-half, when Dublin outscored Kildare 08 to 0-2, as being particularly significant.

"In those periods when they pushed on to another level we were chasing our tail a bit. Not only are Dublin a great team, they have great experience. Even the players they bring off the bench, they have all that in their locker.

"The plan was to come here and try and play the type of football we have been playing all year in terms of getting that balance between a strong defence and a strong counter-attacking game.

"For periods of the game we did both, but unfortunately in those periods in which we didn't, we really got punished. We would be very disappointed with the amount of turnovers we had.

"We knew that turnovers are their oxygen and unfortunately I think they scored 1-5 directly off turnovers today. It's not just on the scoreboard, it is a psychological hit as well.

"That was their biggest thing, their execution was just ruthless. It was the high standard you would expect of champions. Ours was well below par."

Arguably O'Neill was more expansive in his explanation of Dublin's strengths than their own team boss, Jim Gavin.

Even the fact Dublin became the first Leinster football team to win seven football titles on the spin didn't generate any great degree of exuberance from the man who guided the side to five of them.

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