Sunday 22 July 2018

McGeeney frustrated by Kildare indiscipline

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

'Plus ca change!' -- That may well have been Kieran McGeeney's reaction after a seventh Kildare player was sent off in just four matches so far in 2010, a statistic that is sure to leave them down the GAA's new fair play table.

McGeeney had suggested after Kildare's thumping 1-16 to 0-8 defeat to Down in Newbridge on Sunday that it must be French he was speaking as he tried to drum home the message in the dressing room to his players.

But it's quite clear that an indiscipline problem has now become more of a crisis as the red card toll rises so early in the season.

Coupled with the number of frees that have been scored against them in those four games, McGeeney has admitted he is sick talking to his players about it.

Apart from two of the players, John Doyle and Morgan O'Flaherty, who were banned by the Leinster Council for their alleged role in the fracas that erupted during the O'Byrne Cup quarter-final with Laois in January, the other five red cards have been issued as a result of double yellows.

In their opening O'Byrne Cup game against UCD, Dermot Earley walked for a second yellow card as UCD helped themselves to five points from frees out of a total.

Padraig O'Neill picked up two yellows against Laois, Brian Flanagan maintained the unwanted chain of consistency against Louth in the O'Byrne Cup semi-final before Gary White and Daryl Flynn added their names to the list of dismissed players on Sunday.

Kildare's four opponents have also had the opportunities to score 24 points from frees against them, with Laois forward MJ Tierney enjoying a windfall with seven. That's an average of six points from frees against them per game so far.

Kildare have worked hard since the arrival of McGeeney on a better execution of the tackle but so far this season that has misfired, giving the management cause for concern.

Without Doyle (suspended) and Alan Smith (currently off the panel) their attack has lacked cutting edge inside but Rob Kelly's emergence has offset some of the damage.

Kildare play Tipperary in Semple Stadium on Saturday where keeping discipline will not just be a priority -- it will be a necessity.

Irish Independent

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