Kerry ride roughshod over Kildare defence with magnificent seven

Not even Éamonn Fitzmaurice expected such a brilliant display by All-Ireland champions

Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice with selector Diarmuid Murphy. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice with selector Diarmuid Murphy. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Éamonn Fitzmaurice gave a small smile when asked if he expected that scoreline when he walked out the door of his house in the morning. Seven goals rolled into the Kildare net, each competing with the other for ease: it was redolent of the good old days when Connacht and Ulster used to send down sacrificial lambs to Croke Park.

But seven goals? It was beyond the best – or worst – anyone expected from this All-Ireland quarter-final. And Fitzmaurice did not expect it.

“No, I didn’t. We left the house yesterday, was the only thing,” he joked. “No, of course we didn’t. With All Ireland quarter-finals you never know because you can be coming in cold.

“This year we came in after the replay in Killarney which was great for us. Kildare were coming off a good win but maybe fatigue was a factor for them. No, I wouldn’t have expected that.”

Tormenting

This was an impossible post-match press briefing for Fitzmaurice. The All-Ireland champions absolutely annihilated Kildare here to the point where Colm Cooper, bagging two goals and generally tormenting the Lilywhite defence with his vision and street smarts, declined what would have been his third and Kerry’s seventh. It didn’t matter: it arrived anyway.

Darran O’Sullivan was too close to the net to avoid scoring. But Cooper’s repertoire of exquisite play-making was the main source of entertainment in this match – albeit delivered in a contest of light-training intensity.

“It is great for Colm,” enthused Fitzmaurice.

“Again, since the drawn Munster final he has trained well. His football form has picked up a good bit and he has been pushing hard for a start. The way it worked out with Kieran’s injury, it gave us a chance to start him and he got 70 minutes under the belt, which was brilliant, and we have three weeks to get ready.”

It may not be such good news for the other Kerry forwards. Kieran Donaghy sat this one out after picking up a groin strain. James O’Donoghue retired after half an hour, having injured his shoulder. “He got a bang on the shoulder so we will just have to wait and see. Hopefully it is not too serious. He will have a scan and we will assess the seriousness of the injury. I don’t think it popped out but I’m not sure,” said Fitzmaurice.

It is no disrespect to the Legions kid to say that the party went on without him. It was a winter party, mind: outdoors and of the scarves-and-hot-toddies variety but it was a party nonetheless of sweeping, clean Kerry scoring. They hit Kildare for five goals on the trot during a sorry sequence in the second half for the Leinster men. Jason Ryan grimaced when the fatigue excuse was presented to him.

“It’s not a game I’ll be looking forward to watching back. Fatigue would be an easy excuse for us. We were not as competitive as we needed to be. For us to have a chance of winning games, especially against Division One teams or All-Ireland champions, we have got to be competitive and we weren’t.

“In the first half we probably had enough possession to be closer to Kerry, but we didn’t probably win enough ball from kick outs. We’ve lost and it’s very hard right here and right now to put a finger on why. It’s very hard to say ‘it was because . . .’ If it was just one thing we would have tried to press that button after five minutes or after 10 minutes or at half-time or at the start of the second half. As a collective it just wasn’t up to scratch.”

It didn’t get any easier as Kerry sent in gilt-edged names ravenous for game-time. Paul Galvin got time. Barry John Keane bagged 1-3 from play. So for the Kerry management, the game never stopped being useful.

Frustrated

“It didn’t because we got game time into all our subs. Tommy Walsh was another man who was frustrated and he got no action in either of the Munster finals and he had been going well in training.

“Unfortunately, you can only put on six subs and he was one of the ones to miss out both of those days.

“He came on and got 10-plus minutes. So at no stage did it cease being useful.”

That has been the Fitzmaurice adage since day one. The school teacher never stops learning. Kerry march on. 7-14! That should keep the cognoscenti happy until Kerry’s next day out.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.