Brosnan ready to put year of injury heartache behind him starting this weekend

Cillian Fitzgerald

THIS weekend will mark a year since Eoin Brosnan's All Ireland quarter-final meeting with Donegal was prematurely ended as a result of a calf injury.

The date was the beginning of a most frustrating, injury plagued 12 months of the Kerry captain's career. When any captain is given the honour of captaining his team, they dream of leading out their team on the big occasions. However, in current circumstances this is not a guarantee for Brosnan.

"Would I be disappointed [if I didn't start?" he mused aloud at the Kingdom's press event last week.

"Personally you would be disappointed, but you get over that very, very quickly, especially with experience. I have lost my place for All Ireland finals. I have been taken off in All Ireland finals in previous years. You get over these things, you get a thick skin don't worry."

The Kerry captain is confident that he is getting over his injury troubles and the competition to win his place back has helped him get through the tougher times this year.

"For the first time all year I am quite happy, I have had four weeks complete training, missed no training and I'm injury free, thanks be to God, and the body is certainly in a lot better shape and place than it would have been six or seven weeks ago," said Brosnan, before going on to outline where he is in terms of his place on the team.

"Things have gone very well the last month, I have put myself into contention. Up to now I would have said I wasn't even in contention for a starting role, I am up to the level now that I am in contention for a role," said the hopeful Kerry captain.

Brosnan and his team-mates are very happy with their new boss, Eamonn Fitzmaurice and are enjoying how approachable he is and the freshness he brings to the camp.

"(Fitzmaurice) is very shrewd. One thing Eamonn always says is he is open, if a player feels that he is being hard done by, he said he welcomes a phone call and says, 'I will tell you where I think – and where the management think – you can get better'. He is very, very approachable in that regard.

"If he feels you're slacking off, he will tell you straight up. If he feels that you're pushing for a place in the first 15 he will tell you, if he feels you're pushing for a place on the first 26 he will tell you. And players have really bought into that, there is a fairness about Eamonn," said the Dr Crokes man.

However, the centre-back revealed that Fitzmaurice is no soft touch and is well able to keep the players, some of which he once played alongside, in line.

"He sets high standards, there have been a few days there inside training where things have gone badly and training has been halted. And there has been effs thrown and this and that, so fellas know that there is no messing," revealed Brosnan.

The experienced centre-back has been through a lot of different management set-ups and is thoroughly enjoying the professionalism and attention to detail that the current management possess.

"I have been involved since 2000, I think this team will certainly be up there with the best physically prepared Kerry team going to Dublin. The team has trained very hard; everyone has bought in religiously to Cian O'Neill's programme, whether it is the weight work done on your own or whether it's the on-field work," he said.

The three time All-Ireland winner gave an insight into how the Kerry training sessions are structured.

"Every training session is well organised and well-planned.

"You go into training and there are two white sheets on the board, first of all what jersey you will be wearing for the training and second of all, the breakdown of the training, who is taking that segment of training, what the aim of that segment is and what the focus of training is that night. You know exactly where you are and where you stand," said Brosnan.

Meanwhile, the Kerry management have been reiterating all year that they have been aiming to have the team peaking around now. In the week after the Munster Final the players went back to their clubs and played County Championship that weekend.

Having concluded their club duty the players returned to the inter-county fold and resumed intensive training with Kerry, with Brosnan admitting that they trained as hard as he has ever done in his Kerry career, before they got back into a lot more football based sessions this week.

The panel played an A v B challenge game last weekend, before tapering down their sessions this week in order to be fresh for the quarter-final at headquarters. The Kingdom are in familiar territory, as they are contesting this stage of the competition for their 13th consecutive year.