In the immediate aftermath of his team’s heavy defeat by Cork in the All-Ireland football quarter-finals at the weekend, Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney admitted that it had been “a bad day at the office.”
Yet this is not an unknown occurrence for a side that over the course of the past five years has promised much but failed to deliver silverware.
And some of Kildare’s worst days at the office have been endured in their highest-profile matches under the 2002 Armagh All-Ireland winning captain.
Cork won at a canter, leaving the huge Kildare support in Croke Park utterly devastated while the celebrations of the pathetically small Rebels following hardly created a solitary decibel within the vast stadium.
Last year Kildare were just edged out by Donegal in an epic quarter-final tie that went to extra-time and the year before they lost to Down at the same stage. In 2009 Tyrone proved their nemesis in the last eight while in McGeeney’s first year in charge, 2008, Cork also came out on top.
Thus three Ulster teams in as many years have seriously jettisoned McGeeney’s plans to take Kildare to success and now as he surveys an All-Ireland campaign that has embraced heartbreaking defeats by Meath, 1-17 to 1-11, and Cork, 2-19 to 0-12, within a traumatic five-week period, he is left to reflect on his future.
McGeeney said: “It was a bad day at the office. We've been knocking on the door before and in most of those cases we should have won the games. But this time we were beaten by a stronger team.”
Looking ahead, McGeeney said: “Everything depends on the players. That's what it always comes back to — the players.
He added: “I couldn't be any prouder of them.”