KILDARE’S JOHNNY DOYLE says his side are concentrating on their own game, ahead of a tough upcoming match against Cork.
Doyle’s side were recently paired with the Rebels in the draw for the All-Ireland senior football quarter-finals, but he claims the team are not at all apprehensive about coming up against such formidable opposition.
“We’ll be going in worrying about ourselves more than Cork,” he says. “It’s a tough one, but no matter who you get at this level it’s going to be tough. We’re there and we’ll give it a rattle.”
And while Cork beat Kildare in the quarter-final four years ago, Doyle believes the sides’ history, and their poor recent record in quarter-finals, won’t be a factor in this encounter.
“We made a late surge, they got two goals early and we fought back. I’d say if you went through both teams there has been a lot of changes on the two sides. It’ll take on a life of its own. We’re there and when you’re there, you’re in with a shout.”
Kildare set up their tie with Cork by beating Sligo comprehensively at the weekend, in a game that most pundits regarded as an improvement from their display against Limerick, but Doyle says it is difficult to compare the two ties.
“Every game is different and you can read too much into the last game – we’ve seen that right through the Championship. Westmeath could have beaten Kerry one week and then the next week Kerry produce the performance they did (against Tyrone). Every week is different so we’ll see what the next day brings.”
And what was the secret to their success?
“Look, we wanted to start well when we had the elements – it was important that we tried to use them and we put a few points up on the board. The lads worked fierce hard around the field to win the ball back when we didn’t have it and we didn’t give them time to settle on the ball.”
In relation the Limerick game, he adds:
“They were always going to come with huge intensity. We played reasonably well in the first half, but we didn’t take the scores. We dropped a few short there was a funny breeze – a shot you’d normally score was dropping short. If they had gone over it would have helped us.
“They were very good on the counter-attack then, they were very fit and very well organised. That’s a reasonably good Limerick team. They ran Cork close the year they won the All-Ireland. In fairness to Maurice Horan, he has a good bunch of lads there and I’m sure they’ll have another big Championship next year.”
While the Sligo game was considerably less taxing, Doyle plays down the notion that their opponents underperformed, preferring to focus on the positives that can be taken from Kildare’s performance.
“There was a bit of pressure on Sligo. We had a nice bit of a lead and we were determined to come out after half-time and keep the intensity high. I thought we worked very hard. Sometimes a game, no matter how hard you try, just goes away from you. Sometimes when you try harder it gets worse for you. It seems to happen. There were balls put in and they just bounced over the line. It seemed to go away from them and we have been in that situation so many times before.”
He also neglects to criticise the officials on the day, despite a controversial score being awarded in favour of Sligo during the contest.
“There won’t be a word said about it because we won well, but if we had been beaten or it was a one-point game, it could have been controversial. It’s very hard to get those things right.”
Following their victory at the weekend, the confidence in Kildare is high, and consequently, they’re relishing what lies ahead.
“Winning brings confidence and you can see it in the lads. They worked really hard and there was confidence throughout the team. But just because it worked well today doesn’t mean it’ll work the next day and we’ll have to make sure we find that level again. Time will tell what position we’re in, but we’re getting ready for an All-Ireland quarter-final and we’re happy with that.”