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Portuguese training camp pays dividends for Kildare

By Declan Bogue

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney has defended the training camp trip embarked upon by his footballers, after the Lillywhites delivered their first national title since 1928 last Sunday.

Since McGeeney has taken over as county manager, he has encouraged an attitude of self-sufficiency in his players. Through hosting fight nights and other ground-breaking initiatives, his panel have actively raised the funds they feel necessary to create an ever-more professional platform for them to perform.

During the last few winters, players have raised funding to kit out a weights room in the K Club. When it came to fitting out the facility, they did it themselves in their own free evenings.

When the offer was on the table for the team to go on a holiday during the winter, they refused and suggested they might go for a training week instead. While in Portugal, the team trained hard, completing 20 training sessions in 10 days.

But more than the physical gains involved, McGeeney feels that the bonds within the team, and between team and management, were given a chance to grow even stronger.

“I still think you only get the benefits of a training camp three or four weeks down the line,” he said. “It went very well, it’s good to get a chance... the biggest thing is to be able to sit and talk with the players after training.”

The victory over Tyrone on Sunday was a significant marker in Kildare’s fortunes, as it was the first time that this present group managed to get the better of what could be termed a top-ranking side in a game of real magnitude. It didn’t go unnoticed by the coach.

“Getting into a habit of winning on big days and stuff like that, it’s close enough but close enough is never good enough in sport, you have to be a millimetre or a yard ahead of everybody else, but hopefully this will help towards that. You’re going to be facing big teams in Leinster that want the same thing.”

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