Kildare manager Cian O’Neill was disappointed with missing out on the Allianz Football League 2 title, but stressed the positives of their early season campaign and some lessons learnt for their young team.

The Lilywhites secured a surprise promotion to Division 1 but lost out to Galway in yesterday’s final at Croke Park thanks to a late surge from the Tribesmen.

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O’Neill told RTÉ Sport following the 0-18 to 0-16 defeat: “I’m very disappointed. It’s a match that was nip and tuck for the 74 or 75 minutes. We just didn’t close out the game as we would have liked. In fairness to Galway they did.

“The key thing is we are starting to develop a young squad that will potentially be playing for Kildare for 10 years..."

“We went up by three points in the second half and put ourselves in a really good position. We didn’t consolidate that or kick on. They came back at us and we really struggled in the last 10 minutes to score.

"I don’t think either team played to their potential. The first half was probably a drab affair. We both opened up in the second half and went at it.

“We were confident after our half-time talk that we could put in a bigger performance and we did for large parts. But consistency is the key, to the last minute.

“That is what top teams do, and for us that is a huge learning experience. There is a lot of youth there and a lot of guys that will take important lessons today.”

Division 1 football is ahead of Kildare for 2018 and after a performance like yesterday’s, it is likely to test a side very much in progress. And O'Neill wants to take all the knowledge picked up from this campaign into the Championship and next year.

“The most important thing is that it has been a huge success for us. We certainly exceeded expectations after just coming up from Division 3. That can’t be forgotten about in today’s defeat.

“The key thing is we are starting to develop a young squad that will potentially be playing for Kildare for 10 years and we have also learned that if we’re not on form or performing to our best, you can get caught.

“We got tripped up along the way [to promotion] as we did today so it’s that consistent performance, driving for excellence, for 75 minutes, not for 65. And that’s probably the biggest lesson we will learn.”