Kildare pay heavy price for forfeiting home advantage
I HAVE always said that money talks in the GAA and was there ever a better example of that than the agreement of the Kildare County Board, presumably with the nod from the county team mentors and players, to switch what would have been a home game in Newbridge for their league meeting with Dublin to Croke Park?
It was reported that Kildare were offered €60,000 to switch the match. I wonder how their loyal supporters, who are among the most dedicated in the country, feel about the decision this morning.
On the pitch, it all ended up as something of a disaster for Kildare and it is really hard to understand how this team and their players can play so well so often but then collapse like a pack of cards when a lot is expected of them.
The previous occasion was in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final when they were hammered by Cork, also at Croke Park.
We must allow for the terrible cold and windy conditions yesterday but, of course, it was the same for both sides.
With the wind at their backs, a tally of 1-6 for Kildare was very poor, and that was highlighted when Dublin clocked up 11 points against that same wind.
The quality of Kildare's play was terrible all through for a team that had been leading Division 1.
The two things a team hoping to win All-Irelands need most are progression and consistency.
There has been an element of progression for Kildare in that they regularly reach All-Ireland quarter-finals, but inconsistency is the most serious problem, with the defeats by Meath and Cork in last year's championship and yesterday's debacle being huge setbacks.
Maybe Kildare need a more settled team with regard to the use of their leading players.
Placing nine or 10 of them in the same positions regularly would be a help – as would getting a first-choice midfield pairing and, above all, being prepared to change their style of play as the challenges faced by opponents demand.
Dublin keep rolling along at an ever-improving pace and can be well satisfied with their performances at Headquarters.
They have the ideal mixture of experienced grafters and exciting newcomers, and when Jim Gavin and his selectors eventually settle on their championship team, they will be a formidable outfit.