Wednesday 7 December 2016

Fitzmaurice optimistic despite another injury blow for Gooch

Published 04/07/2016 | 02:30

Tipperary manager and Kerry native Liam Kearns warned they'll need to improve if they are to win the All-Ireland title later this year. Photo: Sportsfile
Tipperary manager and Kerry native Liam Kearns warned they'll need to improve if they are to win the All-Ireland title later this year. Photo: Sportsfile

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice moved to allay fears surrounding Colm Cooper who was forced out in the first half of yesterday's Munster SFC final with a shoulder injury.

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"He was sore," Fitzmaurice said. "He got a bang on his shoulder but the medical gang there were a bit more hopeful afterwards.

"They didn't think it was bad as first thought. So he'll get it assessed this week and hopefully it won't be too bad."

Peter Crowley was replaced in the starting team by Aidan O'Mahony after suffering a damaged nose in training but Fitzmaurice expects him to be fully fit by the time the All-Ireland quarter-final comes around.

"He got a nose injury, we gave him up to today to see if he would be alright, but his breathing was still a bit restricted.

"We're delighted to have won the game, to have won the Munster Championship. To be going through to the quarter-finals, into Croke Park through the front door, it's the preferred route."

It might be their preferred route but Tipp manager and Kerry native Liam Kearns warned they'll need to improve if they are to win the All-Ireland title later this year.

Kearns' men went down by 10 points in Killarney but he remains unconvinced as to whether they have enough to go all the way this year.

"In my heart, I'd say yes but in my head, I'd say no," he replied when asked if Kerry can lift Sam Maguire in 2016.

Read More: 'I can't take moral victories any more'- Liam Kearns has primed Tipp's footballers to be serious challengers

"The style of football and I'd say pace might be an issue. They have the forwards alright, if they got everybody fit, maybe.

"They seem to have a couple of issues fitness-wise, Anthony Maher and David Moran, James O'Donoghue certainly. If they can get him firing he's a class act, himself and Paul Geaney would do really well. They might find, when it comes to the All-Ireland, I said we were lacking in a few areas, but they might be lacking in a few areas.

"At the end of the day, their focus is the All-Ireland whereas our focus was playing today.

"They're working at it and Eamonn thinks about it a lot. I've no doubt they'll improve. They need to, I'd say."

Kearns admitted he was caught off guard by the number of players Kerry committed to defence at times as his side failed to register a point from play until the 52nd minute.

"I'd have to say, they played everybody behind the ball, which surprised us. It's difficult to score against a massed defence and that's what it was for a lot of the first half.

"That did surprise us to be honest, we weren't expecting that. Maybe they're thinking further down the line but we were surprised by it, a lot of the time it made it difficult to get shots off."

Irish Independent

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