Saturday 22 September 2018

'It'll go back to where we were if we're not careful' - Doyle

Doyle knows from past experiences that cheers can quickly turn to tears however, and the Naas defender has no intention of getting carried away with their performance amidst euphoric scenes in St Conleth's Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Doyle knows from past experiences that cheers can quickly turn to tears however, and the Naas defender has no intention of getting carried away with their performance amidst euphoric scenes in St Conleth's Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Newbridge or nowhere will be all for nothing unless Kildare can build on their famous Qualifier defeat of Mayo last Saturday night and make the Super 8s, according to captain Eoin Doyle.

The Lilies have turned their season around after a shock Leinster SFC loss to Carlow signalled their 12th competitive defeat in succession and have their eyes firmly set on reaching the last eight with Fermanagh their opponents this Saturday in Navan.

Doyle knows from past experiences that cheers can quickly turn to tears however, and the Naas defender has no intention of getting carried away with their performance amidst euphoric scenes in St Conleth's Park.

"It's a springboard if you make it a springboard, if you get your head back in gear for next week. That's the thing about the Qualifiers, it's week after week. We'd a good win against Cork in 2015 and then the following week we went out against Kerry and we were obliterated," Doyle said.

"So you've got to get your head back in the game and that's hard to do. It'll go back to where we were if we're not careful so you've just got to get back to the drawing board and work hard in training and try and keep this momentum going."

Doyle, who represented Ireland at International Rules in 2015, "never experienced anything in my time with Kildare like this before" but admitted the build-up to the landmark tie was challenging given their venue stand-off with the GAA

"You can't help but be in around it, everywhere you turn someone's talking about it, someone's talking about it on tv or on the radio. Someone mentions it to you and you're only human, you couldn't but hear it and get sucked in by it," he said.

"We came to training Tuesday night and tried to put it all to bed, we said 'the game is going to be on here, simple as, let's just get on with it' and then the news came out Wednesday morning that it was going to be in Newbridge."

Coming out on the right side of a titanic battle was one of the most pleasing aspects for Doyle given that closing out games in difficult circumstances hasn't been their strongest trait in recent seasons.

"How many times have we spoken in the past about coming out on the wrong side of one-point losses? Longford was a game like that last week where it was nip and tuck and we got over the line and thankfully we did it again."

Doyle's sentiments were echoed by man-of-the-match Paul Cribbin - who kicked four superb points from play in a storming display - and he feels they channelled a lot of "hurt" to get over the line.

"It really showed the change in this team because in years gone by we might have caved in circumstances like that and even with our last few games, Derry and Longford ... Longford we only got ahead I think in the 70-something minute," he said.

"I think the grit is in this Kildare team and that's the most pleasing factor. The bulk of us are getting a bit older and a bit wiser. We've that much hurt in us for the last couple of years without getting any silverware that it's driven into us."

Defender Johnny Byrne described the crowd as "a 16th player" and "could definitely feel the county behind us" after the venue controversy, but he insists their battle with the Erne men is all that matters as they look to strike while the iron is hot.

"Super 8s is a big, big target which we have had all year, but it is all about the next game and that is the way we approached things since the Carlow match. It is game by game and look how far that is after taking us," Byrne said.

"We are not going to start thinking about the Super 8s now, we are only going to think about our next game. But if we did get to the Super 8s we would be looking to go further again."

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