Paul Geaney anticipates two benefits in 2018’s packed, but condensed, inter-county fixture programme; he expects Kerry to remain mentally, if not physically, fresher and he looks forward to seeing a lot more of his Dingle club teammates.
Geaney was disappointed with Kerry’s showing against Galway in this year’s All-Ireland quarter-final, identifying a staleness that wasn’t fully eradicated before the semi-final replay defeat by Mayo. He believes Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s men were at their best for the Munster final win over Cork.
“Psychologically, I think we may have peaked in the Munster final. It was a longer year after having the high of winning the league and though we did not show too much emotion after the league, it was an important win for us. I think we may have tired a small bit there at the end. But I think it’s nothing major and nothing that cannot be fixed. It’s just a case of keeping guys fresh upstairs and keeping guys fresh as well in the legs.
“I think that this coming year the new format will help because it will be game after game rather than training for three weeks and having internal games and fellows beating each other to try and get on a team.
“Although it’s probably not the right thing to say, it’s almost an anti-climax then because of the real hard and tough training you are after putting in and it can be hard enough on some guys then having managed to make the team to reach the heights that are expected.
“This year, it’s something like seven games in nine weeks and that will be super for us players who can give their all on the field in games rather than maybe losing an edge in training when there are big gaps between games.”
Geaney accepts there has been a ‘Club Kerry’ mentality with some of the Kingdom’s senior stars with their clubs having to play second fiddle to the county’s demands.
“I would say there was always a touch a Club Kerry there because even when county players were playing with their clubs they were minding themselves or they had injuries and niggles so they were minding themselves with the county in mind.
“All players are different and some players could do this and others just did not have it in them not to give everything to the club when wearing the club jersey.
”It’s hard to come back from the county scene into the club scenario.... which is definitely a step down in terms of standard and intensity. It’s club spirit and it’s great but it is a different head space to come back into and it can be difficult for the first week. It’s also difficult for the club players who have to maybe change tactically because we come back. But to me, my club means everything “
And he expects the new programme to give him every opportunity to show that commitment to the Dingle cause.
“I think this coming year under the new system I will play more games with my club than I did over the past number of years since I have been involved with Kerry. Looking at the (club) fixtures, it looks like four games in April and nothing until SFC in September and hopefully we will have a run in that.”
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