Tuesday 17 July 2018

Chemistry is coming for new-look Kerry - Fitzgerald

Kerry's Fionn Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry's Fionn Fitzgerald. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Fionn Fitzgerald believes his Kerry side are starting to "come together" after they secured top-flight football for another season in last weekend's win over Kildare.

Kingdom boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice has given youth its fling in this league campaign with several new faces taking centre stage for the early part of the campaign as he looks to blood some of the much-vaunted talent that has come through the county's underage system in recent years.

And that has led to some mixed results as the new faces try to find their feet in Division 1.

Fitzgerald, who captains Kerry in 2018, started his first game of the new season in the win in Tralee while David Moran and Johnny Buckley also made their seasonal reappearance off the bench.

And with other experienced stars like Darran O'Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy and James O'Donoghue still to return, Fitzgerald believes the team is only starting to gel.

"The dynamic of the team is new," said the Dr Crokes man.

"We had a great start to the league and then we hit a lull for a couple of games. That happens with new players coming in and some of the older players coming back in at different stages. It is starting to come together a little better now and it is going to take time.

Together

"We haven't had an opportunity for all of us to train together much yet. We are getting to know each other better. That chemistry is starting to come together."

Kerry's win over Kildare saw them bounce back from a harrowing defeat at the hands of Dublin and it means that they face the long trip north to Omagh to face Tyrone with little at stake for either side. And Fitzgerald is glad they don't have to travel with their top-flight status on the line.

"Kildare had an opportunity, if they won, to stay in the hunt. We needed a win. It was a championship game for us. That is how we prepared for it.

"You didn't want to be looking at going up to Tyrone next week, even though we probably still need to win it. You didn't want everything hinging on it. We knew they would have a big performance in them."

Kerry also kept a clean sheet for the first time in the league against the Lilywhites.

"There was a massive onslaught in the second half. They threw everything at it, the kitchen sink. Why wouldn't they? We had to batten down the hatches for a bit.

"They did get a good few long-range points, some of them we might not have been too happy about.

"They didn't really have any goal opportunities, which is a positive."

Irish Independent

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