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‘We’re delighted to get this one’ enthuses East Kerry minor boss McKenna

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East Kerry goalie Brian McCarthy with his parents Paudie and Noeleen at the Kerry County Keanes Super Valu Minor Championship final in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on Saturday Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

East Kerry goalie Brian McCarthy with his parents Paudie and Noeleen at the Kerry County Keanes Super Valu Minor Championship final in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on Saturday Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

East Kerry goalie Brian McCarthy with his parents Paudie and Noeleen at the Kerry County Keanes Super Valu Minor Championship final in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on Saturday Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

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Victorious East Kerry manager Dan McKenna was delighted to have claimed another county minor football title on Saturday, but stressed that the topic of the six-in-a-row had never been mentioned in the build-up to the decider.

That was something really that we never dwelt on, because it was another bunch of mentors and players that put that together. We were only concentrating on this year, at the start of the year all the talk was that East Kerry had lost five Kerry minors to Glenflesk, and Glenflesk went on their own, and fair play to them for taking that decision,” he said.

“We just wanted to build a unit, and build a panel, we were really looking at long-term for next year, we had a lot of 15 and 16-year-olds involved, so we never really dwelt on what had gone on in the past. It only became an item of interest over the last week when people started talking about the six-in-a-row, but I can honestly say that we never mentioned it.

“You would feel a little bit of pressure coming down the straight alright, you wouldn’t like to be the fella that lost the sequence, but this team deserve credit on their own merit really. They were fantastic, a lot of people probably didn’t give us a chance at the start of the year because North Kerry had a fabulous team coming through, and we did very well to get over them, so we’re delighted to get this one.”

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McKenna, who works in Presentation Milltown, and knew all about the qualities that the opposition possessed in their armoury, fully recognised that Mid Kerry would give it a right go, and they certainly did in the opening half, with the East Kerry bainisteoir admitting that the third quarter performance from his side was key to their ultimate success.

“I think, with the eight points in the third quarter, everything we kicked went over. If they had gotten up the field at all, I think they were dangerous, but we were lucky that the third quarter went well for us, and that was the turning point alright.”

On corner-forward Stephen Palmer, who notched four points from play to add to the five he scored against North Kerry in the semi-final, McKenna was full of praise for the Firies flyer.

“Stephen is a great player. At the start of the year, he was carrying an injury, and he came into us, and I think it took him a while to get going. He has a great attitude, and I suppose you could say that about all the players. Most of the time, Stephen is looking for somebody else to give the ball to, but he’s a great score-getter, he’s a fine player, and a great young fella.”

Mid Kerry manager Cathal Moriarty, while proud of his side for going all the way to the final, must have been shell-shocked at their second half collapse. When East Kerry turned up the heat, his youngsters had no answer. But, at the same time, he appreciated how good the champions had been when they really got into their stride.

“We started well, and we were on top, and when you’re on top, you have to take your chances and, unfortunately, we didn’t. And then East Kerry really turned up the heat on us, and we suffered from there, but they were not going for six-in-a-row for no reason, they’re a good side with a lot of quality players, so fair play to them,” he said.

On Jason O’Connor’s missed goal chance in the tenth minute, Moriarty admitted it had been a big moment.

“100 per cent. When you are on top, you have to take those chances, especially against the quality teams like East Kerry. We’re proud of the lads, to get here was a big achievement, a lot of them are underage again next year, so promising times ahead.”

Instead of being overly critical of his charges for the fact that they were comprehensively outscored in the second half (0-12 to 0-1), the Mid Kerry boss put it mostly down to the quality of their opponents.

“Every game we have played so far this year, our plan was to bring the games down to the last 15 minutes, and then you are testing teams. Unfortunately today, we were in the game, and the plan was working, but East Kerry really turned up the heat on us, and our guys didn’t react to that, and when you have the quality of a couple of Kerry minors like Dara O’Callaghan and Rian Colleran, and young Palmer inside there, they have quality all over the field, it’s difficult,” he summarised.


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