Less than 24 hours later he was once more in the winner’s enclosure - this time in service of his club, Finuge, the newly crowned Munster JFC champions. But, like the rest of his team-mates and the management, he admitted to having mixed feelings. “It’s great for a small club like ours to be able to play in an All-Ireland series and it was great to win today, but it’s disappointing that we had one of our players sent off. It’s a blow to our chances of winning next weekend (in the North Kerry final),” he said.
Former Kerry great Jimmy Deenihan, a current selector, echoed these sentiments. “Yes, it is very disappointing to lose a player and it’s hard on the young player in question. I only hope it will not be the difference between winning and losing next Sunday.”
The importance with which the club rates their game with Listowel Emmetts on Sunday was reflected in further comments by Deenihan. In simple terms, they regarded winning it as a greater priority than succeeding in Killarney yesterday. Longer term, he pointed out that it was their ambition to play in the Kerry SFC. “We are playing below our standard a bit. This might not be a true reflection of the depth of talent at our disposal. We have a very good team. We had four All-Ireland medal-winners on the field apart from Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Paul Galvin. We have a skilful side, who are very professional in their approach and we have a first-class trainer in Maurice Leahy.”
Aghabullogue selector John Hogan had a simple explanation for their slow start. “Their legs were like jelly, so many of them were on antibiotics for the flu,” he explained. “We had only six players at our training session on Thursday night. But we all enjoyed the journey and, as you could see, we had great support. I wouldn’t want to take from Finuge’s victory. They were well able to take their scores.”
Noting that the game was a bit more physical than what they are used to, he said: “we have to toughen up in Cork to match this type of football.”