Tuesday 15 October 2019

Billy Keane: 'Soon enough Fitzy will realise the world of a private citizen is an easier way of life'

Eamonn Fitzmaurice with his daughter Faye. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Eamonn Fitzmaurice with his daughter Faye. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

After the game Eamonn Fitzmaurice walked out on to Kerry's field with babe in arms. He did the sorry for your troubles and the sorry for your loss. There were hand-shakes and hugs.

The Kerry manager resigned minutes later. Eamonn has his life back again.

There will be withdrawal symptoms and regrets for what might have been but soon enough Fitzy will realise the world of a private citizen is an easier way of life.

We wish him well. Fitzmaurice has won All-Irelands as a player and a manager. He could probably have stayed on but Eamonn always put Kerry first. His decision to go now was the right one. He may have had the dressing-room on his side but he lost the terrace. For sure mistakes were made but Eamonn wasn't paid and Eamonn wasn't playing.


Yes Kerry are out, despite hammering Kildare in Fitzgerald Stadium, and mighty Monaghan are in All-Ireland semi-final for the first time in 30 years.

These Monaghan men have done their county proud. Well done to my Monaghan god-daughter Grainne O'Reilly-Miller. She was always a dote. The people of Monaghan so deserve these days of a forever, never-to-be-forgotten summer. I would love to have been in Carrick on Saturday night.

And once again we will quote Patrick Kavanagh, the Iniskeen Grattans goalkeeper, who was also a poet of note.

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The bicycles go by in twos and threes,

There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn to-night,

And there's the half-talk code of mysteries

And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.

And while Farney were dancing reels in Banty's, the Kerry fans were desolate even though their team was winning by 10 points, having been six points down. Kerry let rip against a 14-man Kildare side in the second half. We had a glimpse of Kerry at their best.

Kerry needed Galway to do us a favour. Galway were beaten long before the winning post. Last week at Ballybrit, fired-up jockeys were being hauled up before the stewards for overuse of the whip. Galway were subjected to double jeopardy. They play Dublin away next Saturday.

Indeed there were many Kerry people who were of the opinion we were better off losing as Dublin would humiliate us. I disagree. There was a big performance in this Kerry team.

They would have given Dublin a game. The difference, though, is Dublin went to Healy Park and won. Kerry were lucky to get a draw against Monaghan in Clones.

And there was another episode of 'I never thought I would never see the day' on the way to the game. The traffic was very heavy coming in by the golf club.

Because everyone left at the same time. And the reason was the green and gold supporters waited on at home to watch the Irish girls' shootout win over Spain in the semi-final of the hockey World Cup.

We must learn from our hockey heroines. To win you have to work hard and stick together. Hockey is an all-Ireland sport. We need a united Kerry.

Our defence will improve but only if there is a revamp all over Kerry football. There is very little tackling in our club game. No hands on. No hitting.

No back should ever be more than a fingertip away from his man. We have many who can paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in our club games but very few who can put up the scaffolding.

Kerry's David Clifford in action against Kildare's David Hyland. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Yet there is great hope for Kerry. David Clifford (above) has already won Young Player of the Year. Jason Foley, Sean O'Shea, Tom O'Sullivan and Gavin White were excellent.

Kildare were steely this year. Right from the start you could see they were up for it.

The men from what my father used to call the 'Shortgrass County' tore into the Kerry full-forward line . The only problem was there was no ball. I have formed the opinion that the detection rate is much lower near the goal.

Indeed, when Kildare went in front they seemed to lose the run of themselves. The game turned on a sending-off and an intercept goal.

Kildare must have been mentally tired too after a savage long season. Every year there is a people's team. Kildare were all that this year. Newbridge or Nowhere spread to everywhere and anywhere. The controversy gave Kildare the desire to fight for home and fatherland.

Cian O'Neill - the former Kerry and Mayo selector who is surely a contender for manager of the year after getting a brilliant response from his players in the qualifiers - will have learned there are some players who need stoking but there are more who need dousing. While the sending-off of Neil Flynn was harsh in the extreme, Kildare could have litle complaint with other 'card' decisions as they lost their way a bit.

Kieran Donaghy lights his own fire and no man did more to fan the dying embers. I think the towering Tralee powerhouse might go now.

But I hope my pal stays on in some capacity, even as a type of non-playing captain, until the kids come through. Kerry needs optimists. And love. Our players are hurting.

Easy up on our boys. Try to resist the low blow, or the kicking of men when they are down. Think before you type.

To the players I would say, the vast majority of Kerry supporters are on your side. They understand.

Kerry will be back. And it will be much sooner than later.

Irish Independent

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