Monday 22 January 2018

'These have been some of the best games over the last 10 years' - Eammon Fitzmaurice delighted to finally beat Dublin

9 April 2017; Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice ahead of the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
9 April 2017; Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice ahead of the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Frank Roche

Frank Roche

EAMONN FITZMAURICE has saluted the performance that delivered a first Kerry Allianz League title in eight years – and only his second managerial triumph over Dublin in ten attempts.

But he rejected any suggestion that another defeat would have left a deep psychological wound in the Kerry psyche.

"I don't think so," Fitzmaurice declared. "I think you are portraying as if there is this psychological damage there - that every time we go out down the road, we are banging our head off the window in the bus. 

"We come up, we give it everything we have … they (Dublin) are a brilliant team. 

"We have come up short, but we have come up short going at them, bringing the best out of them. The Kerry/Dublin games over the past number of years have been some of the best games that have been played over the last 10 years."

"We are realistic to know and to say that this is something we need to improve on. If Dublin had beaten us, it wouldn't have been the end of the world, we still have players to come back. 

"It is still the month of April, there is still a lot of work to be done for championship. I don't think it would have been the end of the world, but the fact we won is a positive, of course."

Sunday's win delivered a second national title as manager for Fitzmaurice, following on from his 2014 All-Ireland success. It was his first win over the Dubs since Killarney on March 1, 2015 – the last time they had been beaten prior to embarking on their record-breaking 36-game run.

"It is great, of course, to win the league," the Finuge man accepted. "Every year you set off at the start of the year in three big competitions - the League, the Munster championship and the All-Ireland. It would be third in our list of priorities, but still you want to try to go out to win it. 

"Thankfully we got a chance, first of all from last Sunday to get into the league final, to be up here this weekend. Today it was great to win it."

As for the importance of "not losing" again (Kerry had lost seven of their previous nine contests with Gavin, drawing the most recent clash in Tralee), Fitzmaurice reflected: "This Dublin team, like I said last week, it isn't like we are the only team that struggled with them. 

"They are one of the best teams that has ever played the game - everyone is agreed and there is a consensus on that.

"We have been very close to them in the last few years, particularly in the championship, not so much in the league. So we knew we weren't a million miles away - but to get the job done, absolutely it was great. I think for the belief of the players themselves it will be a big boost to them," he concluded.

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