Paul Geaney lays down a marker as battle for places in Kerry hots up

All-Ireland champions turn thoughts towards preparation for the championship

If league success mattered a whit, Eamonn Fitzmaurice would be regarded as one of the worst Kerry managers in quite a while. Three campaigns, three finishes just a single place above relegation to Division Two. Tyrone could have sent them packing with a little better care in front of goal but, even if they had, few in Kerry would have felt inclined to take them to task. The league is for the playing, not the winning.

"It has been up and down, you know," says Paul Geaney, whose 1-2 off the bench in Omagh made him Kerry's top scorer. "It's been disappointing largely. We didn't hit our targets so we are just going to have set new targets and train hard.

“We are a bit behind Cork and whoever else got into the semi-finals, we wanted another day out and we didn’t do that. We had a couple of bad days out and didn’t hit our targets.

“It is a concern but at the same time we showed great character in the games we needed to win or needed to get results in. So that’s a positive.”


Geaney didn't start against Tyrone after twanging a hamstring against Monaghan. He came on for Barry John Keane midway through the first half when it was clear the ball wasn't sticking in the Kerry full-forward line.

As soon as he entered the fray, you could see he was bulling for action. Come the summer, there will have to be room made for Colm Cooper and James O'Donoghue at least, with Darran O'Sullivan, Tommy Walsh, Paul Galvin, Keane and more all in the frame for places too. But Geaney will be battling to hold his spot.

Training hard

“I’ve a few niggles here and there. It happens when you are training hard but I am happy enough with how I am going at the moment.

“I’m to get as many games as I can under my belt, itching to play. Now we have a bit of a break, I wouldn’t mind if the league just continued but I suppose we will be back with the club now for a small while and get a few games there.

“I’m looking forward to the training camp [in Portugal] now. It is brilliant because you get to train full-time for a week and get in some team bonding time as well. Fellas get closer and there is a lot of training done too. It will be hotter over there too, so conditioning-wise that will be even better again.

“You get huge benefit out of it, just the football you play out there on great surfaces and it is just great preparation for the championship. We have benefitted from it in the past and we will benefit from it again.”

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times