It would seem that this season that everything is all falling into place for Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare side ahead of this summer All-Ireland Senior Football campaign.
After five years of untimely injuries, dreadful refereeing decisions and some wanton wastage between the posts, there seems to be a real belief that the tide is turning for the Lilywhites.
McGeeney has seen key players like Mikey Conway, Daryl Flynn and the influential Dermot Earley succumb to injury at various stages; injuries which have disrupted momentum and allowed their opponents to get the mental edge.
The Kildare boss has also seen numerous poor refereeing decisions go against them including the travesty that was the All-Ireland semi-final of 2010 when Benny Coulter’s effort for Down was allowed to stand.
But it hasn’t all been the footballing gods conspiring against them.
The Kildare footballers have wasted opportunity after opportunity time and time again in front of the posts. Easy points have gone begging while forwards have been missing golden goal-scoring chances on a regular basis in the last few seasons, including a staggering 35 wides in their first two Championship games last year.
However, this season, has been a different story. Kildare have been scoring goals for fun this term, racking up nine goals in their last four league games. Their excellent form culminated in the NFL Division 2 final victory over a rejuvenated Tyrone side.
Kildare’s veteran midfielder turned half-forward, John Doyle, believes that McGeeney’s hard work and influence is paying off, with the Lilywhites luckless run firmly behind them.
“I don’t think (McGeeney) has really (changed much),” he said.
“You might look back and say, ‘why didn’t it work other years?’. But we probably got a bit of luck and he has introduced a few young lads that have added a different dimension. A few injuries have cleared up too.
“Throughout the league we probably had different occasions where we had a bit of luck and you need that in any sport. That night in Navan (against Meath) we were probably a little bit lucky to get away with a win and we kept it going for the rest of the league.”
After their League success, attention now turns to the Championship, with a county’s expectations back on their shoulders, supporters will dream of a Leinster title and a good run into September. However, Doyle is taking one step at a time.
“Every year there will be tags put on different teams. Realistically you don’t get too involved in it and you worry about the challenge that’s in front of you,” he said.