'Professional attitude' driving Kerry revival - Griffin
Published 16/02/2016 | 02:30
Laois were as short as 1/6 with some bookmakers to get their NHL Division 1B campaign off to a win against Kerry last weekend.
There was some logic to it. Laois have established themselves as a competitive force in the division, while Kerry were stepping up a grade.
The Kingdom had also endured a miserable Munster League campaign, losing all four of their games and conceding almost twice as much as they scored in the process.
But when it came to it, the Kerry side managed by Ciaran Carey were deserving winners.
John Griffin captained Kerry to promotion and Christy Ring Cup glory in 2015. At 32, he's the oldest player in the squad and having come into the set-up as a teenager way back in 2003, he's seen plenty of good and bad days.
He credits Kerry's latest revival down to a new level of professionalism in the squad.
"Last year was brilliant, winning promotion and the Christy Ring, there's no doubt about that. But we have to forget about that now and move on," he said.
"There are standards set within in the squad. Physically and mentally, there are high standards set in terms of preparation and we have that with the Kerry set-up."
It's the same attitude that helped the squad continue their upward curve and survive the loss of former manager Eamonn Kelly to Offaly when the momentum might have been easily lost.
And in Carey, Griffin believes they have found the right man to keep their stock rising.
"There would have been a bit of disappointment when Eamonn moved on. We had a couple of great years with him but that's the nature of management and managers, they come and go.
"And we have Ciaran in now. He was with us in Lixnaw so he knows the Kerry set-up and Kerry hurling. Anything we've asked for we've got so it's going well."
Carey will welcome his native Limerick to Kerry this weekend. Griffin accepts it will be another step up in class but expects his side to rise to the challenge.
"They would probably see themselves as All-Ireland contenders but we are taking it one game at a time," he said.
"We never looked past Laois so we'll look at Limerick now in the same way. We know a lot about them, they have some lovely hurlers and great forwards like Declan Hannon.
"So it will be a big challenge but the lads in this panel are professional enough and ambitious enough to want to play in these sort of games."