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Fitzmaurice Emphasises the Value of a Strong Squad 2015-07-04 21:00:00

Fitzmaurice Emphasises the Value of a Strong Squad
By John Ivory

Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice was full of praise for midfielder Bryan Sheehan’s performance against Tipperary and the St. Mary’s clubman’s display shows the depth of the squad.
‘’Last year he had an outstanding Munster championship for us. He was our best player above against Clare. He’d an outstanding game below in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and then in the first couple of minutes of the Galway game he got injured and David (Moran) came in and had a magnificent year.

‘’If you’re going to win things that’s what you need, a strong squad, and you need different players playing well at different times. It was good for Bryan, he’s worked very hard this year, he’s in great shape physically, and he’s an experienced guy.
‘’He’s been on the panel since 2004 so he’s been around the block so he knows what it takes. It was great for him to have a performance like that (against Tipperary).’’

There’s no air of complacency in the Kerry camp as everyone involved is well aware they need to keep evolving in order to maintain success and starting jerseys are very much up for grabs.
‘’There’s going to be changes. Different players are going to be playing well. Tthere are fellas coming back, so there’s going to be changes. That’s a healthy thing.
‘’If you do end up back with the exact same team that played in the All-Ireland final, but fellas are there on merit and on form, brilliant. But if there’s a few changes as well along the way there’s no harm in that.’’

Paul Galvin has been making good progress within the camp after a quad injury and it was also something Fitzmaurice touched on during his press conference last Thursday.
‘’He’s back training it again, now whether the Cork game will come too soon, it probably will. He’s in great shape. It’s a matter of getting that football sharpness back into him and the longer we stay in the championship the more of a factor he’ll become.’’

Fitzmaurice also has no concerns over the match readiness of Colm Cooper following his return from a long-term knee injury.
‘’If they (Galvin and Cooper) can survive in our training games, and if they’re bringing it to the table in our training games, you would feel that they could survive in most games. Obviously an inter-county championship game is going to be a step up again but it’s good preparation.’’

Kerry Fit and Ready for Cork Clash
by John Ivory

Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice has declared a ‘’clean bill of health,’’ ahead of Kerry’s Munster final encounter against Cork this Sunday, with Kieran O’Leary being the only long-term absentee.

Despite good news on the injury front, Fitzmaurice, speaking at a press conference last Thursday, is not getting carried away and knows there is a job to do.
‘’We’re used to being in this situation and to me it’s very black and white like it was before the Tipperary game. If we turn up, if we get everyone playing as well as they can and we perform like we can, it’ll take a very good team to beat us.’’

When asked about next Sunday’s opposition, Fitzmaurice revealed he sees Cork as a ‘’very dangerous animal’’ and is well aware of the threat they pose.
‘’The Cork forwards are going to be a step up again (from Tipperary) if they line out similar to the way they lined out the last day. They’ve a lot of different scoring threats coming from deep. It’ll be a big test of us and hopefully the work we’ve done in the meantime will be a help.’’
This Cork team has suffered some tough losses in recent times, but the Kerry boss expects them to use the pain of past defeats to fuel their attack on the Kingdom.
“They’re more motivated considering the amount of bad press they got after the league final even though they had a very good league up to that point beating all of the famous ‘big four’ that are there, beating Monaghan above in their own backyard.’’
Being All-Ireland champions isn’t phasing the squad says Fitzmaurice, and their sole focus is on claiming Kerry’s 77th Munster title this Sunday.
‘’We want to try and win the game, win a Munster championship, which is a big thing in its’ own right, and get a bit of silverware on the board.
‘’We’ll try and surprise them with one or two things and they’ll try to surprise us with a couple of things but at the end of the day it’ll come down to which team has more players performing better on the day.’’
While not saying that playing in Killarney was a distinct advantage, Fitzmaurice did admit the team enjoys playing in Fitzgerald’s Stadium.

‘’If you’re a Kerry footballer it is where you want to be, you want to be playing Cork in Killarney in July with the sun in the sky, it’s always a great atmosphere and a great game.’’

Fitzmaurice not Underestimating Rebels
by John Ivory

‘’I was thinking about them during the week. They have to be the most maligned bunch in the country full stop, football or hurling.’’
Those were the words of Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice at a press evening held at the Malton Hotel Killarney last Thursday night when asked how he felt about this current Cork team.
‘’I think they’re in a very same situation that we were in this time last year. They’re being written off completely.’’

Following on from comments made by former Kerry footballer Tomás O’Sé about Cork’s mental resilience, Fitzmaurice was keen to distance himself from that point of view.
‘’Look, I think with Tomás, that’s his opinion, and I think that’s the attraction of him as a pundit. Outside of the dressing room, because he would have kept a very low profile in general, many people wouldn’t have known that he’s very sharp on the game and he’s very insightful and he’s honest and he’ll say what he’s thinking.

‘’That’s Tomás’ opinion and he’s entitled to his opinion but it very definitely wouldn’t be my opinion. I imagine Brian Cuthbert was rubbing his hands together in glee when Tomás said it.
‘’We’re not foolish enough within the camp to think that or to underestimate Cork and if any of our lads need a reminder all they have to do is think back to last March below in Páirc Uí Rinn.’’

Talking about what Cork will bring to Sunday’s game, Fitzmaurice spoke of the importance of the middle third and how there is a definite need to be wary of all Cork’s scoring threats.
‘’I think Cork seem to have gone back to more of their natural running game and if Cork are on top in the middle of the field, we’ve found it out plenty of times down the years, it’s a long day out.
‘’The last day they had Colm O’Driscoll, who is very effective in his role, and they had Mark Collins who was one of the best players nationally in the whole league. Paul Kerrigan, when he’s on, he’s like Darran (O’Sullivan), he can get goals.
‘’Obviously the two lads, Colm O’Neill and Brian Hurley are kind of their marquee forwards but any one of those forwards are big scoring threats and we know that so I don’t think it’s a case of you block out two and you’re safe. We have to be tight on all of them.’’

Kerry and Cork in Munster Final showdown

Kerry put their Munster senior football title on the line when they take on Cork in an eagerly awaited Munster Final in Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday (2pm). The fact that Kerry are the reigning All Ireland champions will no doubt add spice to the occasion and while Kerry have an outstanding record against Cork in Killarney that statistic will hardly count for anything in the white heat of a Munster Final .
Kerry have had a number of injury problems in the lead up to the start of the Championship with the likes of All Stars Paul Murphy and David Moran shipping shoulder injuries, Paul Galvin’s efforts to regain full fitness have been curtailed by injuries and of course the likes of James O’Donoghue and Colm Cooper are only working their way back to full fitness after long injury layoffs.
Kerry’s form in the League was mixed to say the least and while they were in control of their semi final against Tipperary during the second half, there were times in that game when the long period without competitive action told. Cork, on their day, are a match for the best around and their much maligned squad, with Alan O’Connor back in midfield action, will certainly come out with all guns blazing on Sunday.
This promises to be another intriguing battle between these age old rivals and no doubt there will be no shortage of talking points afterwards. Padraig Huges of Armagh is the referee for Sunday's game. Kerry are due to name their team on Thursday evening at 9pm.

Click Here for Everything you need to know about Kerry V Cork in Munster Championships down through the years.
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