Former Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice has revealed how the Kingdom stole a march on Cork ahead of last year’s Munster final, upsetting Cork boss Ronan McCarthy.
Writing in Saturday's Irish Examiner ahead of the renewal of the old rivalry, Fitzmaurice explains how Kerry managed to secure a kickaround to familiarise themselves with the new Páírc Uí Chaoimh, even though Cork hadn’t had access to the pitch the week of the final.
“Last year there was the additional motivation of getting into Páirc Uí Chaoimh for a kickaround on Friday evening, organised by chairman Tim Murphy through his contacts in the Cork County Board,” writes Fitzmaurice.
“None of us had been involved in a match at the revamped stadium and it was important to get a feel for the new Páirc, both the pitch and the surroundings.
However, Cork’s hospitality didn’t please McCarthy, Fitzmaurice says.
“While we were there an irate Ronan McCarthy rang one of the staff at the Páirc and chewed the head off him.
"Cork couldn’t get into the pitch that week as it was being spared for the weekend's game yet here were the opposition having a leisurely kickaround the night before the match.
"It must have driven him to distraction.”
Kerry ran out easy 3-18 to 2-4 winners the following evening.
Fitzmaurice adds: “Before we left Pairc Uí Chaoimh that night, I decided to exploit the situation and told the players what had happened, how we had the first score on the board already and to keep our boot on Cork’s throat from the off the following evening.”
Don’t miss Fitzmaurice’s revealing insights in the print edition of Saturday’s Irish Examiner