Monday 20 February 2017

Eamonn Fitzmaurice refuses to answer questions on the performance of referee David Gough

Published 28/08/2016 | 18:35

Peter Crowley of Kerry is attended to by team doctor Mike Finnerty, left, and physio John Sugrue after a clash with Kevin McManamon of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Peter Crowley of Kerry is attended to by team doctor Mike Finnerty, left, and physio John Sugrue after a clash with Kevin McManamon of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final game between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice refused to be drawn on the performance of referee David Gough in their All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.

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A heavy challenge by Kevin McManamon on Peter Crowley when the Kerry man was attacking was not adjudged to have been a foul in the 73rd minute and from there Dublin were able to control the game to record their fourth successive championship win over their great rivals.

Fitzmaurice said he didn't want his post-match press conference to be dominated by any thoughts on Gough and preferred to give Dublin's resilience the credit instead.

"Dublin won the second half by six points," he said. "It was a thing we knew they are brilliant at using half-time to right the ship and we had them on the ropes at half-time.

"As they’ve done so many times under Jim Gavin’s reign, they righted the ship again in the second half. We won the throw-in, looked to me like David (Moran) was fouled, he didn’t get a free. They went down, got a point straight away, and gave them belief in the first 15 or 20 seconds of the second half.

"As I’ve said before, you have to give them massive credit. We did have them on the ropes but they really showed the stuff of champions in the second half."

Fitzmaurice admitted they had started slowly but pressing up on Stephen Cluxton's kick-out did generate a significant yield in the minutes before half-time with two goals.

“We had rehearsed some of the kick-out scenarios alright and it came off for us and gave the lads bit of life and a bit of belief which we needed at the time because we’d started quite poorly. Our work-rate was excellent early on but just our skill-set was off, we were taking the wrong options, our decision-making wasn’t right but to be fair to the lads, there was no panic, there was no-one getting too worried and they kept at it. When they got the goal then, it gave us great life and we drove on from there.

Jim Gavin hailed the mental resolve of his players afterwards.

"Dublin football teams their mental resolve is something they’ve demonstrated time and time again to me. Anytime I’m with them I see that from them, particularly in a game like that when there were so many questions. They were five up, but we brought it back, they went three ahead again, but still from a Dublin football game plan perspective they kept in control of what we wanted to do, particularly the players that came on, we are very satisfied with that."

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