Sunday 18 March 2018

Fitzmaurice fears Farney could derail winning run

Kerry football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Ray McManus/Sportsfile)
Kerry football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Ray McManus/Sportsfile)

Michael Verney

After yet another mediocre start to the league, Eamonn Fitzmaurice wants Kerry to push on and make the knock-out stages for the first time in his four-year tenure.

The Kingdom looked to be fighting for their Division 1 survival again when Roscommon inflicted their second consecutive defeat but they have bounced back into last-four contention with a hat-trick of wins.

Qualification would mean more competitive games for Kerry before their championship opener on June 11/12, against Limerick or Clare, and Fitzmaurice wants to avoid the dog fights of previous years.

"We'd be disappointed if we didn't make it as we're in a position where we can drive on a bit. We've had enough of the other caper over the last few years where we have been scrapping right up until the last day to stay alive," he said.

"It would be a disappointing end to the league after coming good in March and it'd be good now to keep the momentum up. Getting through means additional games which is great preparation for championship."

They meet Monaghan in Clones this Sunday and after losing to the Farney men for the first time in 27 years last year, they're keen to make amends. But Fitzmaurice knows teams always up their game for Kerry.

"Last year's game typified our year, there was no consistency there. We want to keep things going now that it's in our own hands but we are under no illusions as to how difficult a game it's going to be," he said.

"Monaghan are at the top table and they will be a difficult team to beat on Sunday. While the nature of the beast is that when you are playing Kerry, especially when Kerry are in town, everyone raises their game for that. Kerry are a team you want to beat."

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