Kildare's season will not be defined by getting relegated – Doyle
KILDARE defender Eoin Doyle has to play a waiting game before declaring himself fit to assist the Lilywhites' championship campaign this summer.
Doyle (23) is one of the many GAA players to have been afflicted with the dreaded hip injury and required surgery.
Currently, he is edging ever closer to a level of fitness that can allow him take a full part in training, but that makes him extremely doubtful for the June 8 Leinster championship opener against the winners of Westmeath v Louth.
"I'm coming back. Over the last week or two, I've got back to different parts of training. It's just a matter now of integrating into full training, so, hopefully, in the next week or two, I'll be back into training.
"I missed an awful lot of last year's championship through injury as well, so I'm very conscious this year to make sure I get the body right before coming back.
"I'm only 23 and, please God, I'll have another few years ahead of me, so I want to come back right.
"I definitely envisage playing championship football this year if I'm fit and healthy," said Doyle.
The big question facing all the Leinster counties is how they can hope to make a serious challenge on the dominance of the mighty Dubs, who have won the provincial crown eight times in the last nine seasons, including the last three in a row.
Kildare last achieved a Leinster title in 2000, so, is there hope for the Lilies?
"Absolutely. We're not training two or three nights a week to go out and believe that we won't beat Dublin. We believe we can beat them.
"The thing about Dublin is that they'll get a run on you for maybe 10 or 15 minutes in each half, and they'll clock up 1-7 or 1-8, and you might clock up a single point in that period.
"It's those periods that they do damage to teams.
"Within Leinster, they're very dominant at under-age and senior level, but it's up to other counties to come up to their level.
"That's the challenge to other counties. Dublin are not going to drop their standards and why should they? It's up to us to try our best to make sure we come up to them," said Doyle.
Kildare's first league series under Jason Ryan's management ended in relegation from Division 1 compared with last year's run to the semi-finals, in which they were beaten by Tyrone.
Disappointing as the drop to Division 2 was, Doyle insisted that Kildare won't suffer a relegation hangover.
"It's in the past. We're going hell for leather now for the championship. Our season won't be defined by getting relegated."