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Cooper confident Kerry will click against Rebels

Don't panic -- we will iron out our problems before we take on the Rebels.

That was the firm message to Kerry fans from star attacker Colm Cooper yesterday after the Kingdom's lacklustre display against Tipperary in their championship opener.

"We wanted to start off well because you want good form going in against a team like Cork and we certainly weren't at 100pc," the Dr Crokes star admitted of their six-point victory over Tipp.

"But we'll iron out the problems. This has happened in the past and we've been able to iron them out before."

Cooper feels that having to travel to Cork for the Munster semi-final will give the Kingdom an extra incentive to up their game.

"We haven't had too many victories down in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. I can only remember two that I won down there and that's what you want to challenge yourself against," he said.

"You'll always remember days like that, trying to win down in front of their home crowd. It's very difficult to do and Cork would probably say the same about coming to Killarney.

"You want to win in the tougher arenas and there's probably no tougher spot than going down there."

Cooper insisted that winning a Munster title is still important to him.

"We certainly want to go through the front door and they're won't be any quarter given between the sides the next day," he stressed.

"Okay, Cork have shown that if you lose you can still go through the back-door and it's not the end of the world, but I can guarantee you that on the June 10 both teams will be going hammer and tongs at it."

Cooper scored 0-4 against Tipperary but got only two points from play and admitted that he wasn't on the top of his game in last weekend's disjointed victory, putting Kerry's ring-rustiness down to the six-week break since losing the Division 1 league semi-final to Mayo.

"A couple of things didn't go the way I wanted but I've only had two previous outings with Kerry this year so I'm not going to get over-excited about things," he said.

"Like the team, there's plenty of areas I can improve on and hopefully I can start finding some form sooner rather than later.

"Tipperary had their homework done and for a team that were said to be on a downward spiral after losing their manager mid-season, they were really well organised. They did well around midfield and got on top of us.

"They were very athletic and played like a team with no fear.

"We struggled to get our hands on the ball and were a little hasty in our decision-making, but these are things that can happen when you haven't had a game for six weeks."

Manager Jack O'Connor brought his players into a huddle on the pitch afterwards, but the Gooch said the Kerry boss didn't blow a gasket.

"Jack was very cool about it. There was no ranting or raving," he said. "We've been in this position before, where we mightn't have set the world on fire in first-round games, but we've come good."

Irish Independent