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Jim McGuinness Identifies 'Defining Twist' Which Helped Kildare Defeat Mayo

Jim McGuinness Identifies 'Defining Twist' Which Helped Kildare Defeat Mayo
By PJ Browne
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It all came together for Kildare on Saturday evening.

Effort and brinksmanship - along with it just simply being their right - saw their qualifier game against Mayo switched from Croke Park to St. Conleth's Park. Mixed in with the best performance in ages from Cian O'Neill's side against a Mayo team hobbled by the losses Tom Parsons and Seamus O'Shea, they got over the line.

A game which was level at the half at nine points a piece eventually shifted Kildare's way after the break.

Speaking on Sky Sports' coverage of the game, Jim McGuiness felt one particular change edged it for Kildare.


"For me the big thing in the second half and the defining twist in the game was in the first half, Mayo were exceptional on their own kick-outs - really good, really intelligent short, medium and when they had to go long, Aidan O'Shea was the go-to man," McGuinness.

In the second half, Kildare really squeezed the kick-out on them. It forced David Clarke, close to the end, to kick one straight out the middle to one of the Kildare players because he didn't have another option.

On top of that, Kildare players doubled up and tripled up on Aidan O'Shea. Once they got the initial pressure high, they knew the ball was going to go to Aidan O'Shea. He was trying to get hands on the ball, it was breaking and Kildare started getting their hands on the ball at really key moments.

When they won the ball then, there was purpose and intent - straight for goal. That was the exciting part about it - a lot of these young guys looked completely unfazed. They were just going straight, not thinking about anything other than goals and the quickest way to get the ball over the bar.

That, for me, was the big turning point between the two halves. Mayo have played well tonight but Kildare squeezed them on that one thing and that was enough to win the game for them.

Former Mayo manager James Horan, also speaking on Sky Sports, thought Kildare's mental approach also helped.


"From a psychological point of view, there was definitely 'not tonight'. There was that feel about Kildare: 'No way. Not tonight are we giving this up or are we letting this go'."

You can watch Jim McGuinness on Sky Sports below.


Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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