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Another Croker choker can make us stronger: Ryan

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jason ryan

jason ryan

jason ryan

ANOTHER night of close-run regret in the capital for Kildare.

They've been down this road before - against Donegal in 2011, when an All-Ireland quarter-final went the distance and then some more, before ending in heartbreak at the death.

Saturday night's qualifier was more a case of Kildare chasing salvation in the dying seconds of extra-time ... but they could, so easily, have won in 70 minutes, denied by a debatable stoppage-time free.

This was just one of several 'if only' moments that left a crestfallen Jason Ryan pondering Kildare's exit from the 2014 All-Ireland race at the last-12 stage, instead of gearing up for a quarter-final next weekend.

EVOLVING

"It's far too soon for me to reflect on the whole thing," the Kildare boss insisted. "In sport you try to look back and learn from what has happened. You're also looking forward. Since we played Clare, it's been about preparing for Monaghan."

He continued: "With the team it's been a constant case of evolving with tactics, personnel and the team. Now we've a number of months to reflect on what worked and what didn't, to ensure Kildare in 2015 will be in a better shape and more competitive."

The sceptics will view this latest two-point defeat at further evidence of a county that keeps on knocking against a glass ceiling, unable to break through. Good enough to hammer a ramshackle Louth, eventually overwhelm Down and beat Clare (just about) ... but not good enough for Meath or Monaghan.

"I'm very proud of how the players played," Ryan declared, sounding a note of defiance. "They were written off coming into this game and Monaghan were very strong favourites. Kildare played themselves into a position where we could have won.

"It's unfortunate that Kildare are in a situation now for a while where they could have won. It was the same situation last year against Tyrone in the qualifiers. It takes time banging on the door to make that breakthrough.

EXPERIENCE

"We started the game with eight or nine guys that had never played in an All-Ireland quarter-final," he pointed out. "We've a lot of guys there that don't have a huge amount of experience. I keep saying it all year, these guys will keep learning from these experiences and it will make them stronger.

"Playing in Division One this year against quality opposition and having some difficult days gave the guys character, I do believe, to come back in the Down game when Down were level and in the Clare game when we were six points down.

"Again today to come back against Monaghan and get that point to go ahead in normal time showed huge character from the players so they deserve a lot of credit."


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