By Micil Glennon
While some have dismissed the importance of the league, Kildare’s Eoin Doyle says that the Allianz Football Division 1 is where they need to be if they are to claim the top prizes.
Manager Kieran McGeeney is in his sixth year in charge of the Lilywhites and a Division 2 title is the only o silverware of note in the cabinet.
The team have been involved at the business end of the last few seasons but frustratingly failed to kill off teams when it mattered most.
Doyle says last year’s promotion and this year’s league encounters, against the top-rated teams in the country, are key to getting over the line in crucial games.
"Division 1 is a massive help this year for us,” he told RTÉ Sport.
“Winning Division 2 last year was a big step up for our development as a team. Division 1 helps with the quality of teams you’re playing.
"We’ve a good under-21 team behind us, new lads and new faces so it’s looking up, but we’re going to have to keep improving for the summer if we want any chance of winning silverware.”
"We’re going to have to keep improving for the summer if we want any chance of winning silverware"
The Leinster side face Tyrone on Sunday (2pm) for a place in the Allianz League final.
It will be three weeks since they last locked horns – a six-point win for Mickey Harte’s men in Newbridge – but the defender says it won't be a question of revenge when they face off in Croke Park.
“We would have been disappointed by that result. It was kind of one that we felt we could have won with the chances we had but, again, if we don’t improve against one of the best teams in the country, we’ll get blown out of the water,” he said.
“You know you’re up against when you play Tyrone or anyone in Division 1. It’s not as if we’re out to get revenge for beating us in Newbridge. We out to get to a league final and that’s just it. “
For the second year in a row, Kildare have drawn Offaly in the first round of the Leinster Championship.
Despite winning last summer's clash by 13 points, Doyle feels that there is still work to be done ahead of the 1 June showdown.
He said: “You’d have to be happy with getting to a league semi-final. We’ve had some good results in the campaign but we’ve also had a few bad ones.
“We got a right thumping against Dublin here one day. There’s still a lot of room for improvement and it’s something that we’re going to have to look at coming up against Offaly in the Championship so that’s what we are focussing on.”