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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 October, 2018
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Kildare boss says Kevin Feely was the victim of 'cynical' hit from Dublin

Feely was treated after being caught by Michael Darragh Macauley’s knee in the early stages of the second-half on Saturday night.

Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

KILDARE BOSS CIAN O’Neill was unhappy with what he perceived as a “cynical” hit on Kevin Feely during their Division 1 league defeat to Dublin on Saturday night.

Feely went down with a head injury after he was caught by Michael Darragh Macauley’s knee in the early stages of the second-half.

The 2017 All-Star nominee resumed play after receiving medical treatment, but was eventually withdrawn with a calf injury in the 61st minute.

O’Neill believes the blow to the head was intentional and helped Dublin turn the tide in their favour during a key stage of the game in the third quarter.

He also suggested Kildare may need to better employ the dark arts if they’re to compete at the top table.

“There’s obviously a very strong correlation when Kevin’s commanding midfield and when we’re performing strongly in games,” O’Neill said after the game.

“It was quite cynical in terms of what happened and the impact to his head when he was on the ground, but maybe that’s what the best teams do better than what we do. It’s something we have to look at.

“But when he got injured we went out of the game in midfield, that’s when the goals came. To be fair it wasn’t his head, but his calf that tightened from a bang he got on his leg and that meant we had to move him inside just to see if we could get anything out of him.

“Ultimately he wasn’t feeling good so we just took him off. He’s such a big player for us. Every team has them and it did impact on us today unfortunately.”

Cian O'Neill and Jim Gavin shake hands after the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Dublin trailed by two points at the interval, before they blitzed the Lilywhites with an unanswered 2-5 in an electric 14-minute spell after the restart.

O’Neill paid Dublin the highest of compliments, saying they reminded him of Brian Cody’s all-conquering Cats side of the last decade.

“They reminded me of the Kilkenny team of the noughties in the second half where they don’t just bang in one, they bang in two – ruthlessly and efficiently, in a very short period of time, and put games to bed.

“But we need to take responsibility for our actions. I think for the two goals, and obviously I’m just going on recollection from the match, they were both solvable. And both of them were where we lost our man.”

In addition to the heavy defeat, O’Neill was dismayed to lose corner-forward Neil Flynn to another injury just two minutes into the start of their league campaign.

After suffering an injury-ravaged season in 2017, Flynn limped off holding his right hamstring – the third time in the past eight months the Maynooth forward has gone down with such an injury.

“My immediate emotion is I’m gutted for him,” said O’Neill. “I’m not worrying about Kildare or selection or anything, I’m just gutted for him. He’s done a really good rehab plan, he wasn’t rushed back. (It was) very, very gradual.

“He’s been playing excellently in training which is why he was selected today ahead of some players who people might have thought might have started.

“But just the way it happened was quite peculiar. It was down the line so I didn’t see if properly. I’m just devastated for him. He’s a great kid and he’s worked really, really hard. For that to happen it’s not nice for him.”

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