Former Kildare manager Cian O’Neill was on Off the Ball and spoke about his decision to end his time with the Lilywhites.
O’Neill stepped away from his role as Kildare football manager and believes that his decision was best for everyone involved.
“From my own perspective, it was my 14th consecutive year in management at inter-county level and four as a manager.
“I think everyone who has made that jump from coach to manager will tell you it’s incredibly big. You may not think it when you are the coach or trainer,” O’Neill said.
The Moorefield man had plenty of success with Kildare in his time as manager, bringing them from Division 3 to Division 1 in the Allianz League as well as qualifying for the Super 8s in 2018.
However, the workload he had to get through on a weekly basis, as well as the commute from his home in Cork to Kildare, was taking its toll on the manager.
“The toughest is particularly in the Super 8s because there’s such a quick turnaround. I could easily spend - because I’m hugely into that type of stuff - 20 hours on video analysis alone.
“Across the week, especially because of travel, you’re up to over 50 [hours],” O’Neill explained.
Unforgettable days out
O’Neill’s most famous victory in charge of the Kildare senior football team came in Round 3 of the qualifiers when they beat strong favourites Mayo in Newbridge.
The game drew plenty of attention coming up to the match for the ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’ protest and was arguably the shock of the summer.
However, O’Neill doesn’t see it as the best game of football that Kildare played during his time in charge.
“To be honest I thought we were even better in the match against Fermanagh, which was the match to qualify for the Super 8s a week later up in Navan.
"I thought we played phenomenal football that day against a team as we know have a very good defensive system,” O’Neill said.
While he recognises Kildare’s 11-point win over Fermanagh as their best victory, a 12-point loss to Kerry is where he believes his side put on their best display.
“Believe it or not the best football we played that year, in my opinion, was the first thirty minutes against Kerry in Killarney.
“It was a highly charged day, beautiful day, fantastic setting in Killarney and we had nothing to play for. We were beaten in our first two matches… and we just really went at that,” O’Neill commented.
O’Neill is walking away from inter-county football and has no immediate plans to get involved as a manager in the near future. He didn’t however, rule out a return later down the line so this may not be the last we’ll see of him.