Éamonn Fitzmaurice ready to bring Kerry to a higher level
Performances of Donaghy, Geaney and O’Donoghue were particularly pleasing
Kerry’s Shane Enright, Michael Geaney and manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice celebrate after the game. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Nature abhors a vacuum and all that. And so does the Kerry forward line. As Colm Cooper watched on, he would have been the first to shrug in recognition. Things move on fast. Kieran Donaghy, his old partner in crime, had a fine old time at full forward in Killarney while around him, Paul Geaney and James O’Donoghue advertised the immediate future of Kerry’s attack. Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice acknowledged that it was pleasing to have both fit and on the same field again.
“They have played minor and under-21. They are the same age and played a lot of football together. But over the last few years for whatever reason there has been different knocks that ruled them out and different times. But they are both at a great age now; they are 27. They are experienced and robust and are in a great place physically and hopefully we can keep them fit and on the pitch. Because they are exciting. “
Since O’Donoghue’s breakout Footballer of the Year summer in 2014, his career has been limited with injury. Here, he showed signs of touching that form, combining ferocious speed with his trademark shooting quality.
“Ok, the second half of his league was interrupted but he had a lot of work done and is in great physical shape. When his body is good, the football takes care of itself. He has been showing that for the last couple of games. He is a huge asset to us and we need him to keep going that way and to go up another level or two if he can.”
Moving to that higher level is Kerry’s next task. Peader Healy’s immediate job is to refocus Cork for the qualifying rounds but he predicted a big summer ahead for his neighbours.
“They’re a good side, lads, they’re a good side. They’re a side that are going to take a lot of beating in the All-Ireland series, that’s for sure. The bench are good, they’re strong. I’d say their first wide came 10 or 15 minutes into the second half (42nd). Very clinical in front of goal. They dragged our half-back line around the place and got their inside forwards on a lot of ball.
“We’re disappointed with the performance. It’s a tough dressing room down there at the moment. We’re hurting. That’s understandable. No excuses, Kerry well deserved their win. There’s no doubt about that. They started well in the first half; they started well in the second half. If we took the positives out of it, we created goal chances but we didn’t take them again.”