Eager Bolton aiming to set the record straight
“We were getting results but we probably weren’t playing that well. And when you’re in the qualifiers and there’s games every week, it’s hard to address certain issues.
“You’re back training on the Tuesday and lads are only recovering after the game and getting over injuries.
“And then on the Thursday night, you can’t really do much before the Saturday game. We were going through the qualifiers and winning games but playing poorly. We still felt we were 100 per cent prepared and it was extremely disappointing the way it turned out. But now we’re coming in a lot fresher now than in other years with all the new faces.”
One such face is Ryan’s, drafted in by McGeeney after an impressive few years as Wexford manager. With Hendy tasked with the defensive side of things, Ryan will focus more on the attack and his enthusiasm and lateral thinking has impressed the players so far.
On his first night at training, he knew everybody by name – even the new recruits from the under-21s. Bolton noted it and saw what all the fuss had been about.
They start out in the league next Saturday night in Croke Park, theirs the job of forming the guard of honour for Donegal’s first appearance of 2013. The same Donegal they felt they had beaten in that epic All- Ireland quarter-final in 2011. The same Donegal that makes them think that maybe they’re not so far away after all.
First though, it’s tonight in Parnell Park for the O’Byrne Cup final against Dublin. A game that exists by itself alone, never to be spoken of after this weekend.
Kildare are actually playing in their third straight final in the competition so it obviously means something to them.
“It’s important,” says Bolton, “because you do a lot of slog in January and a lot of running and when you’re sort of counting time until the start of the league, getting good games like this works wonders. It’s better than a challenge match because there’s something to play for at the end of it.
“And especially for us who are going into Division One now and who have Donegal first up next week. For us to go into that off the back of playing Dublin in a final is going to be great preparation. It’s the perfect way to be going in, far better than any challenge game or training session.”
And if he sounds like he’s trying to talk it up, don’t forget his win-loss record against the Dubs. Correction: his loss-loss record. Couldn’t hurt to begin the year by putting that right.