Wednesday 22 August 2018

'It is probably a little bit over-exaggerated' - Ciaran Whelan responds to O'Neill's claim of 'cynical' Dublin play

27 January 2018; Kildare manager Cian O'Neill during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 1 match between Dublin and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
27 January 2018; Kildare manager Cian O'Neill during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Round 1 match between Dublin and Kildare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dublin legend Ciaran Whelan doesn't agree with Kildare manager Cian O'Neill saying that an injury to his star midfielder Kevin Feely came about due to 'cynical' play from Jim Gavin's side.

O'Neill made the claim in his post-match interview in Croke Park after Dublin eased to a 2-17 to 2-10 win against their provincial rivals.

Afterwards, the Lillywhites boss made his displeasure known regarding Feely's injury.

"There's obviously a very strong correlation between when Kevin's commanding midfield and when we're performing strongly in games," he said.

"It was quite cynical in terms of what happened and the impact to his head when he was on the the ground, but maybe that's what the best teams do better than what we do. It's something we have to look at.

Speaking on The Throw-In today, Independent.ie's GAA podcast in association with Allianz, Whelan said he would be 'surprised' if Dublin made a premeditated attempt to go after the midfielder.

"It is probably a little bit over-exaggerated," Whelan said.

"I don't actually recall the Kevin Feely incident, I'm not sure if it was a knee to the head or something like that. Listen, from Cian O'Neill's perspective, when you have a player of Kevin Feely's status, he was probably the reason why Kildare improved so much last year. To lose him was obviously a big blow for Kildare. I think it is a little bit rich to blame that as cynical or intentional or anything like that.

"These things happen in games and I would be very surprised if there was intent of behalf of the Dublin team in the first round of the league. I think it has been a little blown out of proportion."

Whelan's Raheny club-mate Brian Fenton won Man of the Match for his impressive performance at midfield, kicking 1-3 from play, and the former Dublin star is very impressed with the 24-year-old's development.

"Fenton is just moving to another level," Whelan said.

"He is a Rolls Royce footballer. The ease with which he gets up and down the pitch, his balance, his quick feet to get around guys, he has two brilliant feet and now he is beginning to get forward and get scores. He actually has everything."

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly GAA podcast in association with Allianz, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every week, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé and John Mullane.

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