Tuesday 21 January 2020

Upbeat Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice fires warning to rivals as he reveals big guns are back training

James O'Donoghue of Kerry
James O'Donoghue of Kerry
Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice is expecting a "huge" championship from his side as their Munster SFC opener against either Clare or Limerick in Killarney on June 3 comes into view.

The Kingdom boss last night declared himself pleased with their league campaign the saw them blood several new faces.

"Every year you have to evolve," he told Radio Kerry.

"We are evolving. We tried out different things during the league. Some worked, some didn't, some will add to us during the summer. That's, ultimately, what it is all about. Getting game-plans and styles of play in place will maximise the talent at our disposal and get us over the line in games.

"If you isolate moments in games, of course teams are very defensive. All teams are defensive without the ball, particularly if you are playing against a very defensive team.

"That is a debate I am not going to win. To answer your question, there has to be different things. What we brought the last couple of years hasn't been good enough. We just have to slightly tweak things, keep improving, keep innovating."

Fitzmaurice also reported that several more established players are back in training with the squad. Kieran Donaghy, James O'Donoghue, Anthony Maher and Donnchadh Walsh are all back in tow while Killian Young should return to full fitness in a fortnight.

And Fitzmaurice believes he will need significant depth in the squad if they reach the 'Super 8s' later this year.

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"There is going to be severe competition for places, both on the starting 15 and the lads who are coming in to finish games. If we get to the 'Super 8s', you need a big squad. And you need a lot of fellas going well.

"If you're successful, you have three games in four weeks. You could have four games in five weeks. You'll need a big squad and we are happy with the strength of the squad.

"We as group have to give the supporters something to cheer and the supporters have to back us through thick and thin both in games and after games as well and when you get that dynamic right it can be fierce energetic and that collective spirit can be very powerful. I'm really looking forward to the summer.

"I think we managed to stay in Division One while a lot of young players got experience. We had some good days and we had some bad days but there was a lot of learning in it. Any time Kerry is approaching Championship you have to approach it with anticipation. I am expecting a huge championship from us."

Elsewhere, Wexford centre-back Matthew O'Hanlon expects to have recovered from a medial knee ligament injury in time for their Leinster SHC opener against Dublin. O'Hanlon, will miss this weekend's club championship action in the county, while Lee Chin also sat out Sarsfields two opening football games.

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