After Kildare went out of the Leinster Under 20 Championship to Westmeath, a clearly riled Kildare manager Brian Flanagan decried the decision not to make senior panellist Alex Beirne available for the clash with the Lakesiders, who by contrast had all of their senior players available.

Flanagan was the first to recognise that the players on the pitch created the platform to win the match but they kept Westmeath in the game in the first half with their inability to convert a constant stream of possession into a winning lead, while at the other end they gave away too many unnecessary frees which a fussy referee was always liable to punish.

“So hard to take at the minute but that’s football. It’s ruthless. You have to take your chances and I thought we had plenty of them but we just didn’t take them. And of their 1-15 I think ten came from frees and two or three marks. I felt we probably kept them in the game to be honest with the frees and our conversion.”

Whether Beirne might have made the difference in a tight game we’ll never know but Flanagan completely disagreed with the decision to withhold him three days before the seniors play Offaly.

“People will say I’m biased but I fundamentally disagree with that decision, you know, and I’ve made that clear to senior management, to the county board. I just cannot for the life of me see how it makes more sense for that man to be doing a training session two miles down the road while we’re here as an under-20 team and he’s available, he’s eligible and he’s willing.”

Asked who had made that decision, he replied that “it was out of my hands is all I can say. I pleaded as much as I could. Like I say the player was willing but he was told by other people this was the way it was meant to be and I tried to make it clear that I knew the opposite was happening in Westmeath (where four of their senior panel were available).”

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