The disappointment on Leeside that Páirc Uí Chaoimh will not be ready for the Munster football final is shared in the Kingdom, Kerry football manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice said last night, writes Michael Moynihan.
“I think initially there was disappointment from everybody — players, supporters, everyone. There was something unique about going down to the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
“I’ve passed it a couple of times myself on the road and it looks so impressive. Everyone was looking forward to getting in there, but once the decision was made — and I think credit has to be given that the decision was made very quickly, that it wasn’t something that was left. There was no ‘we’ll see, we might get there’.
“The decision was made quickly, which was good from our point of view, so from our point of view we were able to say ‘we weren’t expecting to have a Munster championship outing in Killarney this way, so this is a bonus’. It’s a nice bonus to be playing there.”
Fitzmaurice says there are promising signs for the Leesiders, though they’re perceived to be at a low ebb. “That’s what people are saying, but we’re obviously not going to take them for granted. A lot of things come into play.
“They can be inconsistent but when they play well, as in the second half of the Tipperary game in particular, they’re as good as they’ve ever been.
“Something that’s been out there is that they’re at a very low ebb, but within the group that doesn’t seem to be the way they’re thinking, because they’ve come through some sticky tests, and that’s usually the sign of togetherness.
“Both the Waterford and Tipperary games were games they could have lost if they hadn’t had that togetherness or knowhow, particularly after Conor Sweeney got a goal for Tipperary in the 69th minute. I thought it was a great sign of them (Cork) to go up the field and get a goal.
“I think they’re a lot closer than people think they are. You see flashes of play, that they’re working hard on their game, but it just hasn’t clicked to the extent they want.
“In 2014 we went to Cork being written off but we knew a lot of good work was being done in the background, that it was only a matter of the tide turning. It did and we went on from there.”
Fitzmaurice said Kerry will pick from a full squad. David Moran, who didn’t play against Clare in the last game, will be fit for Cork.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.