Monday 26 August 2019

Feely frustrated by repeated Kildare inconsistency

Kildare’s Kevin Feely promoting the COPD Cycle on the ing of Kerry. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kildare’s Kevin Feely promoting the COPD Cycle on the ing of Kerry. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

How do you reconcile an unprecedented four championship defeats with a campaign that you still deem "fairly successful"?

Kevin Feely appreciates the anomaly, but after the "nightmare" of losing to Carlow in an early Leinster Championship fixture that threatened to send them into a spiral last year, their recovery featured a career-high against Mayo and a career-best, in his opinion, in the qualifiers, before an acceptable run in the Super8s that failed to yield a win.

It gave them an insight into what they were capable of, but momentum stalled over the winter with the departure from the squad of Daniel Flynn and an indifferent league.

"We were able to park that (Carlow) to one side and were able to build up a bit of momentum in the qualifiers to the point that we got to the Fermanagh game playing the best football that we have ever played, since I've been here anyway," he says.

"Knowing that we did hit that peak was really encouraging and showed what we were capable of."

In between there was Mayo in Newbridge and the galvanising effect that it created throughout the county.

Cian O'Neill had sat them down the week before and advised them that, no matter what, the game would be in St Conleth's Park - incredibly, Feely didn't think much of it at the time.

Those high points of last summer seem a distance away now, though.

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They never sparked in the league, lost their way in a key game against Meath, but still had promotion in sight when they went to Ballyshannon for their final Division 2 fixture against Donegal, losing by 13 points.

"It feels similar to this time last year. We were really disappointed to get relegated and now we are just as disappointed not to get promoted. It's probably even worse than last year (they lost all seven Division 1 league games) because then we had some really good performances and proved to ourselves that we can stay with the best teams. But this year our performance levels are really inconsistent, especially to finish the league the way we did against Donegal."

Feely is convinced that finding that consistency is a mental issue.

"We've looked at changing things in training and stuff like that to address this problem. Personally, I think it's a concentration issue, more of a mental thing, not a physical or a skill thing."

When he reflects on it now, defeat to Meath in Navan cut deepest in this league.

"If you are looking for turning points, it was the main one, even though we beat Tipperary after that. That was a really tough loss."

Flynn's departure - he went to America but is back and played for his club over the weekend - is something they have to adapt to and with 2018 U-20 Player of the Year Jimmy Hyland stepping up, the blow can be "softened", according to Feely.

"We can cope without Daniel, what would be the point if you didn't (think that)? Obviously Jimmy Hyland coming up, you would have seen that as a replacement nearly.

"So I think we can definitely manage without him, but I don't think there is any player like him in the country either. His talents, his physical abilities are insane.

"You are obviously missing something when you don't have him, but we still have really strong options in the full-forward line."

Kevin Feely helped to launch the Get Breathless for COPD Cycle, which aims to raise funds for COPD Support and pulmonary rehabilitation services.

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