Buckley savours Munster joy as Crokes look to Corofin
It's been a long road back to Munster glory for Dr Crokes and captain Johnny Buckley intends on making the most of it as the Kerry side look to bury the ghosts of All-Ireland semi-finals past.
Temperatures were almost sub-zero when Buckley (pictured) addressed the media after provincial decider demolition of The Nire but nothing can hide his satisfaction as it sets up a welcome shot at redemption.
Connacht kingpins Corofin, the 2015 All-Ireland champions, await in an eagerly-awaited last-four clash of two footballing powerhouses and the Kerry star is licking his lips in anticipation.
Three semi-final defeats in a row from 2012-14 still irk the Killarney aristocrats but they'll try to come up with the winning formula over the Christmas break as they look to cap the 25th anniversary of their sole All-Ireland win with another triumph.
"We'll definitely learn from our mistakes, we put a lot of effort in and it's all about peaking in that first week in February," Buckley said.
"It's been eight or nine weeks in a row so fellas will take a break for the next couple of weeks and maybe get a block of strength work in and get back running in January. We've a bit of time to do that planning.
"It's always the one, they're such big games. It's hard to look ahead to February so thankfully we can officially now start talking and planning for it.
"We've one game left (against Rathmore in the East Kerry Championship final this weekend) but we'll enjoy this for a couple of days and tune in for that game. Then we'll look forward to planning for the Corofin boys."
While their eyes rarely strayed from Munster success, Buckley has watched Gary Sice and Co in action regularly over the winter and knows Crokes will have to be at their best in a game he expects to be tailor-made for footballing purists.
"You're keeping an eye on how things are going and I know they're an outstanding team so we'll have plenty of planning and scheming to see whether we can get one over on them but we have that bit of time over the Christmas," he said.
"It'll be a football-focused game which is nice, to be planning to go out and play football, so we're really looking forward to it."