Thursday 22 February 2018

Lightning does strike twice for goal hero Kevin

KEVIN McManamon had barely drawn breath following last Sunday's epic encounter at Croke Park when he was asked to recount the defining moment that saw him for the second time drive the final nail in into Kerry's Championship hopes.

Some had called for him to be introduced earlier, but timing is everything and like a sprinter out of the blocks, the Jude's man did not stand on ceremony.

'It was an unbelievable game. We were only saying it was a great game to watch, I was begging to be involved. I only got seven or eight minutes. It was a very strong powerful finish from the Dublin team. We had Dean, Philly McMahon and Eoghan on so it's nice to have that bit of unity in the squad.

'Mick Macauley put his body on the line to get the ball to me. I just snuck off the back. I just started running I suppose.

'I thought the defender was going to come to me but they kind of played half between myself and the two boys on the wing so I just thought I'd try and aim for the crossbar. It might sneak under or go over but we might get something out of it,' said McManamon before sounding a word of caution.

'Kerry punched a lot of holes, so we are going to have to learn lessons from that game.'

McManamon's post match exuberance contrasted starkly to that of captain, Stephen Cluxton, who has brought new meaning to the word brevity during his tenure.

The Parnells man departed somewhat from the script nearing full time when he soloed his way out of goal prior to taking a blow from Anthony Maher which earned the Duagh man a second yellow.

With the national media, Cluxton however remains as un-engaging as ever, and certainly wasn't getting drawn in on how Dublin approached Sunday's game.

'You've got to train and set your mind to it and it's just a game. If we didn't win today, we wouldn't be in a final so they are all just as important as each other. It's no different to any other game.'

Manager Jim Gavin, meanwhile, paid tribute to Dublin's resilience after a Kerry team inspired by Colm Cooper had threatened to steam roll them in the first twenty minutes.

'It's not that I wanted to go down three goals, but I wasn't exactly surprised they got them. They are the aristocrats of football and have some fantastic forwards but coming in at half time there was great calm amongst the players and an enthusiasm and energy to go harder in the second half.

'We look at the game over the course of the seventy minutes and whether you are up or down at half time it doesn't really make a difference, when the final whistle is blown that is when you need to be ahead.'

'Nonetheless the former Dublin defender believes his team will need to improve in certain areas as they look forward to their big day with Mayo in just under three weeks time.

'We will look back on our tackling and the frees we gave away because defending and tackling is an art and something we really work hard on.

'And when we do give away frees from a technical perspective we are very disappointed.'

Fingal Independent

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