Gooch backs Fitzmaurice for Kerry success

Gooch backs Fitzmaurice for Kerry success

Current Kerry captain Colm 'Gooch' Cooper has given his public support to the county's newly-installed senior football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

The pair soldiered together as team-mates, winning a number of Munster and All-Ireland titles, and Cooper believes Fitzmaurice has what it takes to get the Kingdom back on track.

"It's a good appointment, Eamonn has been a senior selector and in charge of the U-21s and is a good man with a good knowledge of football," the talismanic forward told the Irish Sun.

"The Kerry County Board seemed to have an idea of who they wanted to succeed Jack O'Connor and they moved fairly quickly."

'Gooch' feels that the quick turnaround between managers - O'Connor resigned on August 11 and Fitzmaurice was confirmed as his replacement on August 27 - will focus minds as Kerry plot a renewed challenge for silverware in 2013.

"In Kerry it's always a disappointment if you are not in the All-Ireland final every year. You have to close the book move on and learn," he insisted.

"We have club Championships and the fact there's a new manager means players will be out to impress. It's not so long since he himself played so he is in tune with what is going on tactically. I'm sure he'll make his mark very quickly."

The Dr Crokes ace added: "To be Kerry manager you need to have a very strong character and Eamonn has the characteristics. The fact that we were buddies with him will count for nothing - he'll be fair to everyone."

As well as Cooper's wholehearted endorsement, Fitzmaurice will have been pleased to learn that two of his former defensive colleagues - Tomás Ó Sé and Aidan O'Mahony - have agreed to play on in Kerry colours for another year.

There was speculation that after a disappointing 2012 season the pair, along with Paul Galvin, Eoin Brosnan and Marc Ó Sé, might consider retiring from inter-county football.

Tomás, who is 34, is set to add to his record number of Championship appearances next year, telling the Irish Examiner: "The body's still in pretty good shape, and I'm enjoying it, so the obvious thing to do is keep playing while I can."

O'Mahony is also clearly hungry for more as he looks down the line towards a tenth season at the coal face for Kerry. The 32-year-old said: "I'm really looking forward to it. I went back training (with the club) the Thursday after the Donegal defeat and I've been really enjoying my football all year."

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