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Kildare were lifeless against Armagh, the first real spark of resistance only came when it was all over

After three consecutive defeats Kildare lack any points and sit at the basement of the Division Two table

The fight never materialised from Kildare, not until it was all over.

Armagh won by 14 points and were not flattered by that margin, indeed the outcome could have been more damning on Kildare – they were lifeless, passive, lacked energy, lacked belief. After three consecutive defeats they also lack any points and sit at the basement of the Division Two table.

The sight of Kildare supporters leaving Netwatch Cullen Park long before the final whistle on Sunday underlined these are indeed testing times for the county’s senior footballers. Where to now? Division Three? The Tailteann Cup? It’s only February, but Kildare look like a spool of thread bouncing powerlessly down a staircase.

The first real spark of resistance from the camp on Sunday was saved until Glenn Ryan’s post-match interview outside the Kildare dressingroom.


Ryan was asked if comments by Kildare chairman Mick Gorman at a recent county board meeting added unnecessary pressure on him and his team.

Gorman was quoted by the Leinster Leader to have said: “I spoke to the management for a long time today about the situation and the necessity that performances and results have to greatly improve. We are fully aware that results are not good enough, not good enough for the county, and the players and the management are all fully aware of the situation.”

Ryan said he did not believe Gorman’s words had any impact on the game, before adding: “I don’t think they were properly reported either but look, all these things come to the fore when things aren’t going your way.”

However, a reporter from the Leinster Leader was standing next to Ryan and took issue with the Kildare manager’s comments, asking him to clarify what had not been properly reported.

A tense exchange between the two followed, with a journalist from the Kildare Nationalist interjecting at one point to say he too was present at the meeting and insisted the reporting of events was “absolutely accurate”.

The journalist from the Leinster Leader asked Ryan several times if he wanted to listen to the tape, an invitation the Kildare manager declined.

“I know you a long time,” Ryan said. “And it’s a pity, when we’re at our lowest, you don’t get the support of people that you know a long time. And that’s disappointing.”

Ryan added: “I can only report on the conversation that I had with Mick Gorman. But look, it’s something to be able to talk about other than the match, but the reality is we’re disappointed.

“All these other things, I suppose, are clickbait for people. I keep supporting everybody who has a job to do, as best I can.”

It was about as confrontational as Kildare had managed to be all afternoon in Carlow. Just a few metres away, Armagh’s players bounced out of their dressingroom having scorched a third successive victory, burning a route towards promotion to Division One again.

But the current difficulties in Kildare did not escape the notice of Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney, who was manager of the Lilywhites between 2007-2013.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of it and I’ve seen all the stories,” said McGeeney. “There’s always fellas with big ideas that aren’t on the line.

“I wouldn’t know any bigger Kildare men than Johnny [Doyle], Roli [Ronan Sweeney], Glenn, Anthony [Rainbow], they are good men and sometimes when you just haven’t the support it’s hard and things can run against you.

“I definitely wouldn’t be knocking them, they are good men.”

And there is always perspective.

Following Tyrone’s defeat to Galway, Brian Dooher spoke about the continuing absence of his fellow joint manager Feargal Logan, who is unable to be part of the set-up at the moment because of illness.

“Feargal’s doing well and recovering well,” said Dooher. “We’re all glad to see that. It’s just going to be a full journey back to recovery for him. We’ll see how long it takes.

“It’s not for me to determine that [when Logan might be back on the sideline]. He’s recovering well and that’s as much as I know, we’re just sending best wishes to him and he’s definitely doing well.”

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Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times