SEAN Moynihan is a cool customer. As Marcus Mangan went into the Cusack Park stand to receive the All-Ireland Junior Championship cup, with his team mates huddled excitedly below him hugging and cheering, Moynihan hung back out the field.
Save for the 'bainisteoir' bib on his back, Moynihan could have been standing outside a church after mass chatting idly to a few neighbours. The well wishers were plentiful, coming up to congratulate a man who has shown a midas touch with this junior team. Moynihan accepted their handshakes warmly but there was no histronics or crass celebrations from the Spa man. Just a man comfortable in the knowledge that he had made his own small contribution to the ongoing success of Kerry football.
"All-Ireland champions. It sounds good, it feels good," Moynihan admitted when he spoke to The Kerryman as the celebrations went on in another corner of the field. "I'm exceptionally proud of the lads. I've said all along that it's a team effort and I include everyone in that, including all the management team. Look, it's not about me, I have to stress. Everyone one of those guys are fantastic lads and I'm delighted for them."
The way this Kerry team has played football, the way they have reacted to adversity, and the way they - players and management - have generally carried themselves has been extremely positive and reassuring, and Moynihan couldn't but acknowledge that.
"We started with fifteen in every game and we finished with fifteen. Our attitiude was basically to play football fast and direct. We have very good forwards and we knew if we could get football to them...I mean we kicked nineteen points there, which was great kicking.
"Our backs were outstanding in the first half too against that wind. The team is excellent. It will take a while for it to sink in but it's a fantastic felling. It's a journey we started and every time you go out you just don't know what to expect, but here we are now, All-Ireland champions, and it's fantastic," the manager said.
For once this team didn't have to rescue a result after going behind early on. It was welcome, if unfamiliar, territory for Moynihan and his players to be leading well at half time, and overall the manager was very pleased with the performances against Mayo.
"I think it is a great sign of Conor Cox, especially. He missed two ealry frees and then the penalty and he still ended up with eight points. That showed great character, but there's savage belief in all the lads. We kept our composure all the time. In all the games so far we found ourselves behind, so we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory here at half time when we were up six points. We knew the ten minutes after half time would be vital and every time they got a score we went down and got one. They got a goal, which was very sloppy on our part, but we came down and kicked a couple of points again immediately and that's what you're looking for, a reaction all the time. We have got that reaction every single time we have been hurt and that's fantastic."
Then there was the inevitable question of senior potential coming out of this junior team. Does Moynihan see any or many of these players making it into the county senior panel or team?
"It will be down to the senior manager. I don't know if he was here or not today but these lads are definitely going to be around. The county championship is up next and these guys will be involved. There are definitely guys there who under the proper supervision and the proper structures in the senior intercounty set-up who can seriously develop. They are very hungry and very ambitious and I suppose that's what we are looking for, and they can play football. And in my opinion they can play it in the proper way of moving the ball fast and direct, with no blanket defences or any of that carry-on. It's about playing football."