Kildare need to be more cynical, admits O'Flaherty
Eoghan O'Flaherty believes Kildare need to be more ruthless when it comes to killing off opponents.
Ahead of Saturday night's Leinster Championship opener against Wexford in Croke Park, O'Flaherty recognises they have lost too many games by small margins due to an absence of cynicism.
That trait reared its head once more when Kildare threw away a winning position and lost the Division 3 league final to Clare by a point scored deep in injury-time.
O'Flaherty reveals that manager Cian O'Neill has placed a major focus on improving certain key facets of their play since that Croke Park disappointment.
"Ultimately, be a bit more cynical in the last couple of minutes," O'Flaherty said.
"You saw Clare once they got a point in the lead, I think they got two black cards (one black, one yellow) in the next 30 seconds.
"We were a bit rushed in possession at times. We were probably a bit nervous on it, which isn't like some of our players, but unfortunately we turned a bit too much easy ball without actually being under pressure from Clare lads. It was our own decision-making let us down.
"(We gave away) a few scoreable frees as well. That has probably been a pattern throughout the league, conceding frees. They're the three main things we have to improve on and get them right."
He isn't sure why Kildare haven't been inclined to employ darker arts in the past.
"It doesn't seem to come natural. But I know for a fact if I was playing against some of these lads at club level, it definitely would happen, so it's strange when we come together that we haven't managed to be able to do it.
"Even in training it would happen and it has definitely been happening in training since. So I'd be confident going forward we won't be as nice.
"And if there's a few black cards to be taken that lads won't be worried about getting them. You have to be careful that it's not too early in the game either, but with a couple of minutes to go, you have to stop goals at all costs.
"People would see Kildare as a nice footballing county and it's something we're aiming to change. Certainly Cian is aiming to start that now this year. Going forward, it's something we'll have to be aware of in games."
O'Flaherty wants improvement at the other end of the pitch too where goal chances have gone abegging.
"In fairness to Cian since he came in, he said from day one, if the goal chance is on that we'd go for it, no matter what minute it is."