The start of something special? Cian O'Neill shed lights on his Kildare crop

Kildare manager chats to Off The Ball as the team reach a first Leinster final since 2009

BY Raf Diallo 20:21 Monday 19 June 2017, 20:21 19 Jun 2017

Kildare manager Cian O'Neill ©INPHO/Donal Farmer

As we hit some stunning summer weather, Kildare have ended something of a mini drought by ending an eight year wait to play in a Leinster final.

That decider won't come until July 16th against the winner of the Dublin vs Westmeath semi final.

The win over Meath followed a resounding 1-21 to 1-7 win over Laois in the quarter final and Kildare manager Cian O'Neill is delighted with the sense of momentum built as he told Off The Ball on Monday night's show. 

"To put two performances in like that back to back is a sign of progress. There's still a long way to go but from a confidence perspective, it's affirming," he said.

Building on that, not just this year but beyond also rests on getting the best on a young generation of Kildare players who have tasted success in the underage ranks.

You can listen to the full chat on the podcast player below or stream on iTunes via the GAA on Off The Ball series.

"Success is not something that Kildare football has had much of, not just in recent years, but for the last 100 plus years," said O'Neill.

"So that culture of winning, particularly at senior level, hasn't been there. Now we've a group of young fellas coming through who have won Leinster Minors, won a Leinster Under-21. They know what it is to win at underage and I think that's hugely important. The key for us now is to start doing it at senior so we can start creating or own history and our own culture."     

And O'Neill also cited the efforts  made to improve the defensive aspect of the side that had floundered in recent times.

"The frightening statistic I heard when I came in to the job was that in Kildare's three previous performances in Croke Park in Championship, they conceded something like 17 goals and 51 points, something crazy like that. And defensively things did improve."  

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