Thursday 12 December 2019

Fitzmaurice aware that Kerry expects

Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Photo: Sportsfile
Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Even allowing for the fact that he has been installed as manager until the end of the 2020 season, Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice knows there won't be too much leeway given in the Kingdom as he looks to blood their new generation of talented young players.

Last winter, Fitzmaurice saw his term extended for another three years as Kerry effectively entrusted him with grooming the players that have delivered four minor All-Ireland titles as well as four Hogan Cups in consecutive years.

It was a firm vote of confidence in Fitzmaurice's skill as a manager. If he sees that deal out, he'll have been in the Kerry hot seat longer than Páidí ó Sé.


And as they begin what he has described as a "three-year plan", he accepts the Kerry public will still expect high standards.

"There is only one currency in Kerry, I know that," he replied when asked if there would be much patience in the county.

"I've been through that as a player and manager. It is what it is. That isn't going to change. You deal with that. You treat every game seriously, you try win every game. We'll see where that takes it."

Kerry are without a staggering 19 players through injury, club and other commitments but Fitzmaurice is looking forward to seeing who will put their hand up this spring, starting with the visit of Donegal to Killarney on Sunday.

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"With the National League, we have always taken it game by game. We are looking at the Donegal game. We have a fantastic opportunity to give players game-time, show them what a step up it is.

"Last year, there was an awful lot of fellas who played in the league and went on and made championship debuts afterward, the likes of Jack Savage, Jack Barry, Tom Sullivan, Kevin McCarthy. A lot of those fellas wouldn't have been seen as possible championship players this time last year.

"They proved throughout the league that they could go on and compete at a championship level. It will be similar this year. We will be looking at players, seeing who can handle it, seeing who needs to develop further. We are trying to strengthen our squad. We will be trying to win every game."

There is much talk of Kerry's new wave but no one has dominated the discourse like Fossa's David Clifford. After two stellar seasons at minor level, he is training with Fitzmaurice's panel. And while the Kerry manager stated he will give him his bow in the coming weeks, he called for patience.

Read more: Lowry and Barry to fore as UCD open their account

"He's been very good. He's come in, he's kept his head down, worked hard, everything you'd expect from a new player coming in. He'll get his chance during the National League and we're all looking forward to seeing it. There has to be patience with him. He is not yet 19. He is a young man. He has the world at his feet. He is very level-headed. We can't ask any more from him. We all need to be patient. The public need to be patient. We as a management need to be patient. He needs to be patient himself." 

And he suggested that Donegal to pose a slightly different challenge under Declan Bonner than they have in recent seasons.

"There will be a lot of players from the 2014 All-Ireland minor final on both teams. That'll be interesting in itself. A new manager is always going to bring new energy and a new dynamic. A new style, too, perhaps. He has been there before, he is coming back with new ideas. The first game is the one where you are not too sure about the opposition because they won't have played a game. We'll just be prepared for Donegal and the challenge they bring. I am sure they are tough."

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