Thursday 22 August 2019

O'Neill says Lilies must be more pragmatic

O’Neill: No immediate return. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
O’Neill: No immediate return. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

AN immediate return to inter-county management is not in the pipeline for Cian O'Neill as the former Kildare football boss takes some time out having stepped away from the Lilies after four years at the helm.

Between his involvement with the backroom teams of the Tipperary hurlers and the footballers of Mayo and Kerry - as well as managing his native Kildare - O'Neill has had little time off in recent seasons.

He intends on changing that over the coming months, but the Moorefield clubman would be open to a return to inter-county management once again after recharging his batteries.

"Certainly not at the moment, it wouldn't be on my radar, I just need a rest - a rest from the M8 from Cork to Kildare. Down the line it's definitely something I would look at again, but it's not something I've given much thought to," O'Neill told 'Off The Ball'.

Looking back on his Kildare reign, O'Neill bemoaned their inability to close out big games as one of the many challenges which he faced when manager.

"There are very few teams in the country that have better days than tougher days so I did feel that they were tough. Particularly in a county like Kildare, there's a huge demand for success which isn't really balanced on previous success," he said.

"Their appetite for winning is huge. That's fantastic in many ways, but sometimes you have to be pragmatic as well. You're in a province with potentially one of the best teams that has ever played the game and that is always a challenge.

"All those tight matches, we always seemed to come out on the wrong side of it and that's something that the new manager is going to have to look at."

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