Thursday 15 November 2018

Doyle insists Lilies won't beg players to stay in fold

Conor Dooley of Ballyboden St Enda’s collides with Clonkill’s Paddy Dowdall during the Dubliners’ 2-25 to 2-19 win in last night’s Leinster SHC quarter-final. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Dooley of Ballyboden St Enda’s collides with Clonkill’s Paddy Dowdall during the Dubliners’ 2-25 to 2-19 win in last night’s Leinster SHC quarter-final. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

If it's the case that Kildare are without a number of their marquee names for 2019, there won't be any wallowing in self-pity or grudges held against the departing players, according to skipper Eoin Doyle.

Doubts surround the availability of Daniel Flynn, Mick O'Grady and Niall Kelly, while Cian O'Neill is already without the services of defender Johnny Byrne as he assembles his squad for the upcoming season.

Doyle has captained the Lilywhites since O'Neill took charge three years ago and while not confirming what players were unavailable for 2019, he understands all the moving and shaking on many inter-county panels.

"Johnny stepped away with personal things going on that he needed to commit to. It probably needs to be realised the amount that goes into playing in a county set-up, even club level is mad now," Doyle said.

Attention

"If lads have other things going on you have to prioritise them and unfortunately Johnny wasn't able to stay with us again this year and that's a decision he made, that he was giving his life his full attention.

"That's absolutely fair enough. I don't know how true the things about Daniel Flynn are, I saw the bits in the media but I haven't heard anything on that so I'm not 100pc sure."

The Naas defender - an All-Star nominee this year - believes it is "acceptable" to take time out given the commitment which inter-county players make and he insists he won't be begging anyone to come back against their own wishes.

"If you're in there and able to give 100pc, you're a lucky man to be able to do that. I'd absolutely accept that people have other things going on in their life and they've given so much to Kildare down the years," he said.

"If they want to go do something then we wish them the best of luck as long as they make that decision good and early and they're true to themselves. You're trying to be the best that you can be.

"And the best person you can be and be true to yourself and that's the same off the pitch and if that's what they want to do, fair play to them and we'll wish them well. If they're not with us, we'll move on absolutely.

"I don't think so to be honest (I will not be ringing players to stay). Daniel is 25 or 26, he makes his own decisions, Niall Kelly will make his own decision, Johnny Byrne will make his own decision," the PE teacher added.

"That's the way it goes, I'm not going to try and influence anyone; of course we'd love to have Niall, Daniel and Johnny playing for us but if they're not, it's absolutely fine."

With coach Ronan 'Roli' Sweeney and selector Enda Murphy leaving the set-up - Tom Cribbin, Karl O'Dwyer and Alan Flynn have come on board - it will be all change for the Lilies.

There is likely to be a huge influx of youth, however, on the back of their All-Ireland U-20 success and Doyle encourages the fresh blood like exciting attacker Jimmy Hyland to seize the opportunity and "make their own history at senior level".

"We've U-20s coming in there that will fill a gap and it's exciting to see what impact they'll make. I'm hoping they're not going to wait around a couple of years before they make their impact," he said.

"I'd love to see them stepping into it and getting stuck into it over the next couple of months as opposed to maybe we give them a bit too much time and we say, 'Oh give them a few years, they'll need this or that' but I'd be encouraging them to go straight for it and not hold back.

"We haven't had too many All-Ireland wins so when you have one and you're still playing and those lads are following on behind, it's very exciting. I'm hoping that they go and make their own history at senior level."

Irish Independent

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