KILDARE boss Kieran McGeeney was understandably dejected following Sunday’s loss to Cork in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park.
The Rebels were simply unstoppable at times, with forwards including Colm O’Neill wreaking havoc in the Kildare defence, who had wing-back Eoin Doyle sent off in the second half following his second yellow card offence.
McGeeney admitted to the Irish Examiner that his side were clearly second best to a superior Cork side, who dominated proceedings in every aspect of play on Sunday.
“We’ve been knocking on the door before,” the Armagh native continued. “In most cases we should have won those games but today we were beaten by a stronger team. We had our chances and we forced our way back in the first half…missed a few crucial scores too.”
“In the second half we started very well but couldn’t get the ball over the bar. Cork just went up, put two or three on and next thing it’s a seven-point game. Then it’s just one-way traffic,” the Kildare manager said.
However, McGeeney admitted to Cork’s class, which was evident, but acknowledged that Doyle’s sending off really was the turning point in Sunday’s clash.
“You have to give credit to Cork. They’re strong in every section of the pitch. They punish you for every weakness. We seemed lethargic in midfield, just didn’t seem to have the energy we had in past games. That’s the way it goes with sport, it’s a cruel mistress,” he explained.
“If there’s any team that can exploit a counter-attack, with the speed and strength they have in the middle eight, it’s Cork. You have to hand it to them. In the past, we’d always felt that you were probably even, or better than the teams (that beat you) but today Cork were stronger all over the pitch; the better team won.”
“It’s never easy admitting you were beaten by a better man or a better team but today was one of those days. They’re a good unit,” McGeeney finished.