Saturday 7 December 2019

Kerry's power surge strongest since 1975 - O'Dwyer

Gaelic Games

Mick O'Dwyer says credit must be given to Eamonn Fitzmaurice for the was the Kerry side 'have kept improving' over the course of the season. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Mick O'Dwyer says credit must be given to Eamonn Fitzmaurice for the was the Kerry side 'have kept improving' over the course of the season. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The rate of improvement in the Kerry team since last April is the fastest by any team in a five-month period since 1975.

Kingdom legend, Mick O'Dwyer, who presided over the launch of the greatest era in the county's history 39 years ago, believes that something special has happened in Kerry since the last round of the Allianz League in early April when Cork easily beat Eamonn Fitzmaurice's struggling crew.

"Not many thought that we'd be in Croke Park for the All-Ireland final back then. To be honest, most people thought Cork would win the Munster final but Kerry put on an exhibition that day. It got the whole thing going and they have been a different team since. That was the turning point," said O'Dwyer.

Kerry came from nowhere to win the 1975 All-Ireland and O'Dwyer sees a lot of similarities in how this season has developed. He gives huge credit to Fitzmaurice for masterminding the revamp, which leaves Kerry seeking their 37th All-Ireland title on Sunday.

"The way they have improved reminds me a lot of 1975. You'd have to give credit to Eamonn for the way he's got them going and to the team for the way they have kept improving. When Colm Cooper was ruled out for the year, everyone thought Kerry would go nowhere but it just shows what can be done when a team works hard.

"Still, it's an awful pity that 'Gooch' isn't playing. He's a huge loss but, in fairness, the other lads have worked hard to make up for him not being there," said O'Dwyer.

He rejects outright the idea that Ulster counties are becoming a serious problem for Kerry.

"Every game is different. Good teams win wherever they are from. That's why we've done so well in Kerry down the years," he said.

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