'Gooch' will be fit for semi insists Fitzmaurice
Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice insists that star forward Colm 'Gooch' Cooper will be fit for the All-Ireland semi-final against either Dublin or Donegal in Croke Park on August 28.
Cooper was forced off in the Munster final win over Tipperary with a shoulder injury and didn't make the match day squad for yesterday's win over Clare at HQ.
But Fitzmaurice revealed that the Dr Crokes club man could have played yesterday if necessary and insists he will return to full training this week as they begin preparations for their last four clash.
"We hope he'll be back training (this) week, so yeah he's good," said the Kerry boss.
"We could have forced the issue but he wasn't 100pc right. Generally unless it's an emergency situation, we don't force the lads into action until they're ready to go.
"He's following the programme he's had since the Munster final and he'll be ready to go at the end of next week and that's always been the target."
Cooper's club mate Johnny Buckley is also set to be available for selection for the last four clash after missing out yesterday.
"Johnny's the same," Fitzmaurice explained.
"He'll be ready to go at the end of next week so he's another fella that's made good progress in the last two weeks in particular."
And Fitzmaurice went on to point out that the side of the draw Kerry were on isn't as straight forward as some commentators have made out with the three most recent winners of Sam Maguire battling it out to make the All-Ireland final.
"With all the talk about our side of the draw and how it easy it was, the way it is now is that the three teams that are left on our side have won the last five All-Irelands between them.
"So there's heavyweights on this side of the draw from now on in. Dublin and Donegal will be a big game and whoever comes through will be a serious challenge to us.
"If Donegal beat Dublin, they'll surprise a lot of people and if Dublin do what most people expect them to do, well that's the semi-final that most people have been expecting all year."
And Fitzmaurice insists his side will be ready for whoever emerges from that clash.
"We have a lot of work to do on ourselves. If we can ourselves right for an All-Ireland semi-final, we can have a real go at whoever's there, it will take a good team to beat us."