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O’Neill impressed by Evolution of Buckley 2015-09-17 19:33:00


O’Neill impressed by Evolution of Buckley
by John Ivory

Kerry coach Cian O’Neill has spoken about the improvements Johnny Buckley has made during his time with the Kingdom, and says that this year is the Dr Crokes clubman’s finest in the green and gold.
‘’In the last two years people would have regarded him as a good Kerry footballer and a great part of the team whereas this year he is seen as a leader.
‘’When Johnny is on form, particularly up front, the whole forward line is working better because they get it from the work he is doing – the role Declan O’Sullivan did last year.
‘’For us he is a huge player. He has the package; he’s skilful, he is very intelligent on and off the ball.’’
Further back the field, the age of Aidan O’Mahony and Marc O’Sé is not a worry for the management and O’Neill stated that whoever takes the field on Sunday will be able to perform.
‘’The players’ performances speak for themselves in every match they have played this year. They (O’Mahony and O’Sé) have performed excellently – the age is something that people pick on when things are not going well, not a factor when things are going well.
‘’People refer to their experience. Everybody knows we have a competitive squad and they all know that if you are tired you put your hand up and we will make the change. That pair has played more matches in Croke Park than many teams.’’

Focus is on the Bigger Picture says Buckley
by John Ivory

Kerry forward Johnny Buckley has spoken about the strong team spirit within the Kingdom camp ahead of next Sunday’s All-Ireland final against Dublin.

The selection process once again came up in conversation, and Buckley explained it is something the whole squad has bought into.

‘’On that side of things form is the big one they pick on and he's (Eamonn Fitzmaurice) proved that in the past and he's made calls and left some big players out for different games.

Dealing with not starting matches is something Buckley has personal experience of this season, and getting over the disappointment quickly is key says the Dr Crokes man.

‘’It's a big part of our set-up that if you are dropped it's not the be all and end all. Obviously there's personal disappointment, but the focus is on the collective and getting your head around it for the next training session or whatever it maybe be.’’

The very real chance that you will get your opportunity if you are playing well is something that has enabled every player to stay motivated and having a strong squad is not lost on the team.

‘’If you are dropped the likelihood is you're going to play some part in the next game and we all know the strength and importance of panels now and you're last fifteen being just as important than your first fifteen.

‘’Again, a bit of personal disappointment, but there's a focus on the overall scheme.’’

Donaghy Relishing Captain’s Role
By John Ivory

As Kerry head into this year’s All-Ireland final encounter with Dublin, Kieran Donaghy has spoken about how much he enjoys his role as captain of this particular group of players.
‘’It has been an enjoyable summer. The boys are a great bunch to work with in fairness. There’s a few messers in there which is always good and the banter is good around the dressing room, which is important.

‘’We’re where we want to be, we’ve a 50/50 chance to fight for an All-Ireland medal. If someone gave you that at the start of the year you’d take their hand off for it.’’

Donaghy is one of the most experienced men on the panel, but it is his first year as captain and while admitting the season has been different, he says it is something he is relishing.
‘’I suppose it is different. There’s maybe an added bit of responsibility when it comes to this kind of stuff. It’s a huge honour obviously.

‘’It’s something I take seriously and look forward to at the same time. It’s not any different to any other year but there is still that added bit of pressure to deliver, which is a good thing.’’
As his first year of captaincy draws to a close, Donaghy is happy with the year, and where the team are, and is looking forward to the decider versus Dublin.
‘’We’ve prepared well, we’ve worked hard all year, we’ve trained well as a team. We’ve faced bits of adversity here and there and stared them down and come out the other side so we’re looking forward to the challenge that this team are going to bring.’’


Kerry-Dublin Rivalry ‘Special’ says Fitzmaurice
by John Ivory

Speaking ahead of this year’s All-Ireland final, Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice discussed the recent history of the fixture but insisted Kerry do not have revenge for past defeats on their minds going into Sunday’s game.
‘’I don’t think it’s festered. Fair enough we won this year (in the league) but the championship defeats, in 2011 and 2013 - any team that has the upper hand on you, of course you’re going to want to beat them.
‘’That‘s natural, but I’d see it as more of a positive rather than a negative. We know they have our number to a certain extent but if we play to the top of our game we’ll really test them.’’

Kerry have taken each game as it comes and Sunday will be no different as Fitzmaurice maintains that last year’s success is history to this group of players.

‘’Once we came back from our holiday 2014 was parked, and it was all about trying to win all we could this year. So far we’ve won a Munster championship and that’s it, we want to try to win an All-Ireland.
‘’Afterwards you might say, ‘wasn’t it great to win two in a row’ or something, but we’re not looking on it as motivation or anything like that.’’
Fitzmaurice alluded to the magic of this tie but an All-Ireland final is more important to him and his squad than anything else.
‘’There is something special about Dublin-Kerry, the Hill 16 factor and so on. It’s a game every Kerry player wants to play in. Same from a management point of view. But especially when you get to an All-Ireland final it doesn’t matter who’s there, you just want to win the game.’’

Semi Final Replay won’t Hinder Focused Kingdom
By John Ivory
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has no fresh injury concerns heading into the Kingdom’s All-Ireland final clash with Dublin. Kieran O’Leary and Mikey Geaney are the only long-term absentees.
Fitzmaurice admitted he had hoped the semi final between Dublin and Mayo would not go to a replay but wasn’t surprised by the closeness of the games.
“The first day we were hoping to have a result to inform our own training and know who we were playing. It wasn’t to be and there was always a good chance there would have been a draw because the teams were evenly matched. It was what it was and we just had to accept it and move on.’’

The knock on effect of Dublin needing a second game to overcome Mayo was that Kerry had an extra week of training without knowing their opponents, but Fitzmaurice is happy with their progress.

“It was grand to be fair to the lads. It was what it was and we maintained the intensity in training quite well. We moved our session from Saturday to Sunday last week so it was only two extra sessions really.
‘’We knew by Sunday morning when we trained that we were playing Dublin, so from that point of view it wasn’t ideal but we managed it as best we could. It’s just one of those things, one of those uncontrollables. It was grand.’’