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Eamonn Fitzmaurice Interview on Kerry GAA Website 2015-02-28 10:12:00

Eamonn Fitzmaurice talks to the Kerry GAA Website ahead of the Kerry v Dublin Allianz League Clash

 

Why the changes on Sunday from the team that beat Derry?

“Anthony Maher came back the last day and did well when he came on against Derry and he’s trained well in the meantime, so we’ve given him the nod. Up front Kieran Donaghy has come in, he’s been playing well for the Stacks, he’s done well in the couple of training sessions we’ve done since. But the two lads that have lost out, Tommy Walsh and Barry John Keane, they’re both unlucky because both of them are playing well as well at the moment. This month gives us a great chance to look at the whole squad, every fellow will be getting game time so there’s no panic and there’s no huge analysis or significance with what way we’re doing yet and by the end of the month things will be starting to settle down a bit.”

Dublin haven’t lost in Kerry for 10 years and in Killarney for 12, so are you anxious to put things right on Sunday and beat the Dubs thus ending that losing sequence?

“Well there’s a reason we haven’t beaten them and that’s because they’re one of the best teams around, they’re very strong. We haven’t beaten them in the league for some time, I think the last time we beat them was 2012 in Croke Park, while we haven’t beaten them in Kerry for some time. Definitely, they are serious opposition, of course we’re going to be trying to win the game on Sunday. It would be great for us to beat Dublin on Sunday and we would also have four points on the board. But Dublin are a very powerful outfit and it’s going to be a tough game again on Sunday and it would be great to come out on the right side of the result.”

Looking at Dublin, Eamonn; Jim Gavin has been using a lot of his U-21s and has been playing without some of his bigger names, very much like Kerry and he seems to have found a number of promising youngsters and they have a win and a narrow defeat under their belts. How do you rate them at present?

“They have, the fact that they weren’t in the final last year meant they got back a bit earlier and have some extra training done. The fellows that Jim is bringing in at the moment have won U-21 All Irelands and have been knocking around his squad for the past number of years. While they probably aren’t hugely experienced yet, in terms of actual inter county action, they still have a good bit of experience under their belts. They are a formidable outfit and there was very little in the game down in Cork which could have gone either way and they were well up for the game in Croke Park against Donegal, there was far more pace in that game, there was serious intensity and you could see that Dublin meant business on that night. We know the challenge that lies ahead, and as I said we haven’t beaten them in a while, league or championship and especially at home in the league, so it’s a big task for us on Sunday and we’re looking forward to it.”

Are you upset in anyway by the fact that Dublin do not release their team until Friday night, which gives you very little time to arrange match ups etc? Should there be a standard day coming up to a game by which time all teams should be revealed?

 

“Different teams do it different ways, we consistently release our team on a Thursday night but Dublin consistently release their team on a Friday night while other teams differ as well with Cork revealing their side usually on a Tuesday night. So different teams have different ways of doing it, so it’s not a huge problem. I suppose in an ideal world, if there was a particular time that everyone would have their team released at it might bring more consistency to it, it’s not something I’m bothered by, it is what it is. When Dublin release their team we’ll have a look at it, we know what they have anyway and they play a similar style no matter who they have, except our backs might like to know how they are marking, outside of that the challenge won’t be that different regardless of the personnel that Dublin are playing.”

 

Kieran Donaghy is returning to action pretty quickly after his major disappointment with his club some might suggest it’s a bit too soon, what was the rationale behind it?

 

“I don’t think coming back so quickly after losing a major club game is a big problem. Sometimes I was in that position myself, both from going back from Kerry to the club and vice versa. Usually you’re as well off to get back on the horse straight away and tear into the next challenge. I think the thing that you’d worry about more than the mental side of things is the physical, in terms of would he be fatigued after a long club campaign or will he be fatigued later in the year because of the length of his season. But I think from Kieran’s point of view, last year was a disjointed year from earlier in the year because of his injuries and until he got his injuries right, he didn’t get full steam ahead until early June. From that point of view his season wasn’t as long last year as is perceived. But he’s full of energy, he’s mad for action in fact I had to talk him out of coming back the week after the club loss. He’s the captain of Kerry, he’s missed two games already and he’s anxious to get going.”

Tommy Walsh is back on the bench, are you happy with the way he’s going and is it a question of just having patience with him?

 

“We’re delighted with Tommy, really pleased with the way he’s applying himself. His attitude is first class. Tommy, even before he went to Australia was always exemplary in everything he did, he’s been the same since he came back. He’s eating up everything we’re saying to him, he’s improving every single night, his kicking, his handling and everything is progressing the whole time so he’s doing very well and he’ll get action now in the month of March and that will bring him on another bit. There will be a couple of club games coming up for him and they will all help him. I keep saying it’s going to take a bit of time and we’re all going to have to be patient. But Tommy because of the type of fellow that he is and the attitude that he has is progressing all the time and I’m delighted with the way he’s progressing and undoubtedly he’ll have a contribution to make on Sunday.”

 

Do you think it’s important for Kerry to make the latter stages of the year this year since they enter the championship fray pretty late so an extra game or two might be helpful?

 

“You want to win every game, of course if you win on Sunday you’re looking up rather than down. At the same time I do think that the league is going to be very tight this year because every team can beat each other. I don’t think home and away is going to count for that much of an advantage, in fact I think sometimes when you’re away from home and the team is together for the weekend and you’re together the night before the game, there is a great focus there. When you’re on the road it can actually be a bit easier. But we’re not looking beyond Sunday, if we can get a result on Sunday it will be great but if not then we’ll just have to knuckle down again for the following weekend. I think there’s going to be very little between the teams who qualify for the semi-finals and the teams that are relegated so it’s just a matter of focusing on one game at the time and at the moment we’re focused on Dublin and we will see where that takes us.”

 

Turning to Dublin and the fact that they use the short kick out so successfully and it is particularly hard to counteract, do you have plans to disrupt Dublin on Sunday?

 

“Look, it’s a big part of Dublin’s game but every team really now focus on trying to retain possession from the restart. Dublin, in fairness to them, are the kingpins of that. Cluxton to be fair revolutionised the game and with some of the players that they’re had out the field the last couple of years. They’re strong over their head and run into space, Sean Currie has been in goal for the past couple of games and he’s very good at it too. So it is going to be a very big part of their game plan on Sunday and it’s something that we’re going to have to be aware of but we’ll have a few tricks up our own sleeve as well where we might be able to take Dublin by surprise and disrupt their game plan.”

In conversation with Murt Murphy at the Kerry Press Briefing

 

Kerry Senior Football Team Injury Update

Eamonn Fitzmaurice talks to the Kerry GAA Website on the latest Injury update from the Kerry Camp.

 Can you update us on the injury situation with some of the more prominent players?

“A lot of the lads are progressing well, you’ve got the likes of Peter Crowley, Shane Enright, Paul O’Donoghue and Brian Kelly back on the bench so we’ve had a few returns since the last game. Killian Young was a sub in the last game, he’s back again full steam ahead. Donnchadh Walsh has had a bit of a setback with his groin, nothing major but he’s not ready yet. The likes of Darran O’Sullivan is back training, Marc Ó Sé is back full training and Aidan O’Mahony is  not too far away. The injuries are progressing nicely, thanks be to god.”

When do you expect the injuries to clear up and be able to field stronger teams?

 “Definitely by the end of March you’d expect most of the lads to be back, maybe the Donegal game, but it will depend on how they’re doing in training, from week to week we’ll see how the squad is going, are we picking up knocks, picking up suspensions and so on. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t be pressing fellows back into action before time but we might need to. The lads are progressing nicely and it’s just a matter of getting the balance between winning games and getting football into fellows at the same time.”

What about the two long term injured Colm Cooper and James O’Donoghue – will they see any League action? Could Colm come back before the end of the month?

“Yes, it is a possibility. I mean with Colm first of all, he’s doing well but he’s not ready yet, it’s as simple as that. He’s not ready to play a game so we’re going to wait until he is ready, he’s very much symptom led, his knee is good but once he has a bit of football played and his body conditioning is right he’ll be ready to go and he’ll see a bit of action. I’m reluctant to put a date on it but hopefully Colm will see action by the end of the league.

As for James (O Donoghue), he’s in a situation that we’re going to have to wait and see. We’re not going to be rushing him back until he’s ready and he’s unlikely to see any action in the regulation League but if we progress to a semi-final or a final maybe he might be in a position at that stage to play. We’re going to be patient with the lads, we’re not going to push them into action until they’re ready, both of them have had long term injuries so there isn’t much point in rushing them at the end of it, maybe for the sake of a game. We’ll get them right first and then they’ll be back.”

In conversation with Murt Murphy at the Kerry Press Briefing

 

 

 





Dublin are visitors to Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday next for Round 3 of the Allianz Football League, a game that will have a 2pm throw in. Cork apart, there is no greater rivalry these days for the wearers of the green and gold than the Dubs. We need little reminding in these parts that the pendulum has swung towards the Metropolitans in recent meetings between the sides and we have to go back to the League meeting of 2012 for Kerry’s last victory.

2015 is of course a very significant year in the history of meetings between the sides being the 60th anniversary of Kerry’s famous victory in the 1955 All Ireland final a game that the then captain, Kerins O’Rahillys John Dowling described as “No ordinary All Ireland Final”.

No doubt, the late John Dowling’s grandson, Barry John Keane, and his comrades will be all out to reverse the recent trend of victories for the Dubs and after a somewhat deflating opening performance against Mayo in Fitzgerald Stadium, their first competitive game since the All Ireland Final, Kerry redeemed themselves with a fine victory over Derry in Celtic Park. Dublin did much the same in theier Round 2 game with a fine victory over Donegal in Croke Park having gone under to a late Cork rally in Round 1 in Páirc Uí Rinn.

The points at stake today are vital to both sides. There are no soft touches in Division 1 this year; every point is vital and the fact that Kerry still has a long list of players rehabbing from injury means that players on the fringe of the first fifteen get valuable playing time and experience against the best teams around. It would be great to see the likes of Colm Cooper, Marc Ó Sé, James O’Donoghue and Aidan O’Mahony have to fight their way back onto the team come Championship time!

That of course is the first of four League fixtures in March for the Kingdom: Kerry are away to Cork on the 8th, and then home in Austin Stack Park to Donegal (15th) and Monaghan (29th) before finishing their campaign with a trip to Tyrone on April 5th.

Among the articles in the souvenir Programme for Sunday’s game is a look back at the 1955 epic encounter between Kerry and Dublin by Eugene McGee.

The Allianz Football Lague Table Division 1 after Round 2