Tuesday 17 January 2017

Kerry forward James O'Donoghue: "We're coming back the next day now to regain our trophy"

Michael Verney

Published 23/08/2015 | 19:39

Barry John Keane, right, and James O'Donoghue, Kerry, celebrate a late Keane score. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Kerry v Tyrone. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
Barry John Keane, right, and James O'Donoghue, Kerry, celebrate a late Keane score. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Kerry v Tyrone. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

Kerry ace James O'Donoghue believes the reigning All-Ireland champions are getting better at winning ugly after their 0-18 to 1-11 victory over old rivals Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final.

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Played in horrible conditions at Croke Park, it was a war of attrition from start to finish with Kerry showing their true metal to battle back from the concession of a second-half penalty to pull away for a four-point win.

Tyrone battled bravely but the strength in depth available to Eamonn Fitzmaurice tipped the scales late in the closing half and O'Donoghue feels their ability to grind out results is becoming a key element of the side.

"It's fantastic. We came up here to do a job and we knew it wouldn't be pretty," the current Footballer of the Year said to a chorus of applause pitchside. "It's great to be back in an All-Ireland final and the crowd really helped drag us through."

"We're getting good at grinding out results as a team. My heart was in my mouth for the whole thing but we want that pressure on us. We're coming back the next day now to regain our trophy."

Read more: Comment: Hooking Kieran Donaghy for Paul Geaney was a masterstroke by Fitzmaurice

Read more: Joe Brolly on Maurice Deegan: "He did something to Tyrone today which normally happens between consenting adults"

Mickey Harte's side have had a hoodoo over the Kingdom with three big wins in the noughties but O'Donoghue felt that his side dealt with the expectations of the contest and came through with flying colours."It was always going to emotional but we weren't on those teams," the Legion attacker said.

His manager Fitzmaurice is developing quite a record against the top Ulster teams after defeating Donegal in last year's final and he praised his side's durability in the immediate aftermath. "We've learned how to grind out a result. We've been in tight corners but thankfully we came through it."

Kerry will meet the winners of next Sunday's eagerly-awaited second semi-final between Dublin and Mayo and they now stand only 70 minutes away from back-to-back Sam Maguire wins.

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