Keane: 'The goal just after half-time wasn’t part of the plan'

Keane: 'The goal just after half-time wasn’t part of the plan'
Kerry manager Peter Keane during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The first four questions lobbed at Peter Keane during the post-match debrief centred on the second-half and how this was the period, beginning with Eoin Murchan’s goal nine seconds after the restart, where the game, simply put, had been won and lost.

In all of his replies, the Kerry manager made reference to the scoring opportunities his charges failed to take.

The disappointment at his team having made their own task all the harder by registering such a litany of morale-sapping wides was evident in his sombre tone.

Where Dublin finished with four wides, the first of which did not arrive until the 43rd minute, Kerry were far less economical in front of the opposition posts, their wide count reaching double-digit territory by the finish.

David Moran (two), Tom O’Sullivan, Diarmuid O’Connor, Jack Barry, Stephen O’Brien, and Paul Geaney were responsible for Kerry's seven second-half wides, to go along with the three from the first-half, while David Clifford and Killian Spillane both dropped efforts short in the second period.

Moran will be disappointed with his second wide, this miss arriving shortly after a Sean O’Shea point had cut the deficit to four (1-16 to 0-15) on 62 minutes. It was to prove their final score.

Of course, Keane was also left to rue Stephen O’Brien’s missed goal chance on 53 minutes, the Kenmare forward drilling his shot straight at Stephen Cluxton.

Stephen Cluxton of Dublin saves a shot from Stephen O'Brien of Kerry, in the 54th minute, during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Stephen Cluxton of Dublin saves a shot from Stephen O'Brien of Kerry, in the 54th minute, during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

“Their goal was [a blow] but if you are going to concede one, it is as good a time as any to concede it because you have another 40 minutes to go after it,” the Kerry manager began. “When we had our goal chance, we were three down, if you had taken that… we had chances, we just didn’t convert them.

“We were chasing it a bit in the first-half. We were down by four at one stage but got it back to equal at half-time. The goal just after half-time wasn’t part of the plan. We worked our way back to get it to a point and we had a few chances after that. I suppose we were stretching it at all times thereafter. Today is a learning curve.”

He continued: “There were a few areas where we were struggling and they were able to dominate, and then they were kicking scores. When we were chasing back, we weren’t able to get the scores. They are just the small little margins.”

When pressed if Kerry’s best chance at glory had come two weeks ago, Keane sounded his disagreement with the school of thought which said the Kingdom had left the win behind them on September 1.

“I wouldn’t have felt that we left it behind. Dean Rock had a kick to win it at the end so had he scored that, there would have been no leaving it behind, we’d have lost it.

“We had 11 fellas starting their first All-Ireland final two weeks ago. We had two more fellas who came on so that was 13 fellas playing in their first All-Ireland. So, in many ways, you’d have said, jeez, this is great, because you are getting another shot at it, another opportunity to build on it.”

That they were unable to do.

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