Our turnovers against Dubs were criminal – O'Flaherty
KILDARE's footballers have gathered together for the first time since last Sunday's obliteration at the hands of Dublin to try and pick up the pieces and put together a plan to take on Louth in the qualifiers.
Manager Kieran McGeeney described the challenge of lifting his players for Saturday week's Newbridge clash as the toughest of his time in charge of the Lilies, who have an impeccable record under the Armagh man in the last-chance saloon.
Eoghan O'Flaherty returned to Croke Park yesterday for the announcement of 'Fighting Blindness' as a GAA charity partner and surveyed the scene of the crime, trying to pick through the debris and search for answers.
The Carbury attacker believes that the team coughed up the ball too many times in contact against the Leinster champions and that proved to be their downfall.
"Against a team like Dublin, it's man-on-man, a fast-paced game. If you're turning over the ball, they're punishing you because they break with such pace," he said.
"Our turnovers were in the 20s, which is criminal against any team, but especially a team that counter-attacks as quick as Dublin do. They made the most of it and they punished us severely. It's a lesson to learn for us going forward.
"I know how good Dublin are. Their players are as good as there are anywhere in the country in a lot of positions. They won the league, so everyone was aware of how good they were going to be.
"We just didn't see our challenge being as poor as it was on the day. But I was fully aware of what we were coming up against. If any team isn't 100pc aware of what they can bring, you're not going to survive against them.
"They have pace all over. They're not reliant on any one player. Over the years they were very reliant on Bernard Brogan, but that is certainly gone now. Other forwards are dangerous and they still have (Stephen) Cluxton, who kicked four points from placed balls at the weekend, which is a dangerous weapon to have. There is no single person that you have to worry about. It's everybody."
Part of the challenge for McGeeney is lifting the six U-21s who started against Dublin and could be scarred by the nature of the defeat.
"I'm sure (they) were very down after the game. They know we have to pick it up straight away and get the heads up coming into this Louth game," said O'Flaherty.
"It's a new thing for them because they haven't played in the qualifiers before, or against Louth, so we will definitely have to make sure they're fully aware of getting back focused straight away. There is only so much thinking you can do on the game at the weekend. You have to be looking forward to the next game."