Kerry in fine fettle, warns Fitzmaurice

KERRY U21 manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice believes his county are in a situation where they usually thrive from.

The former All-Ireland winner gave his views during an Irish Examiner podcast which is available to listeners at www.irishexaminer.com/sportpodcast.

“They’ve kept it nice and quiet, training away,” he said.

“I’d say they’ll be very happy with that. The one thing I think is definitely positive from a Kerry viewpoint is that a lot of younger players are making their way onto the panel and by extension the team.

“It’s good to see Shane Enright getting a start there in defence the next day. Among the subs you’ve David Geaney, Brian McGuire, Johnny Buckley, Peter Crowley and Daithí Casey. That’s good as the panel needed fresh blood.”

Looking outside Munster, Fitzmaurice, while slightly critical of Banty McEnaney’s decision to introduce Graham Geraghty into the panel, warned Kildare not to be complacent.

“Seamus McEnaney possibly made the decision without thinking too far ahead and of the consequences,” he said.

“I think it was strange enough. Maybe Banty was thinking along the lines of something Jack O’Connor has done in recent years, like in 2009 bringing Mike McCarthy back into the panel, and he played an instrumental role in Kerry winning the All-Ireland that year.

“This year Eoin Brosnan has similarly come back and done well. But I’m not sure if the decision with Geraghty has gone down well in Meath. Obviously it caused a bit of upset with the management and that’s never a good thing. He is a fantastic athlete and I could see him contributing alright.

“I think depending on how the Meath players react, they could cause an upset. They’ve a lot of very good players up front. Jamie Queeney is a good scoretaker, then you’ve Shane O’Rourke, Graham Reilly had a very good year last year and inside Stephen Bray, Joe Sheridan and Cian Ward.

“They’re all very good forwards and if they get enough ball in, I think they’ll cause problems. I don’t think it’s a clear-cut match and if Meath have the right spirit there, they could overturn Kildare. It’ll be an interesting match.”

However, former Cork footballer Niall Cahalane told Fitzmaurice that both sides will have their work cut out if they come up against Dublin.

The Castlehaven man accepted Dublin could have won the national league final if they had taken their chances.

“Pat Gilroy’s heart is definitely in the right place as regards Dublin football,” Cahalane said.

“But what I couldn’t understand in the league final was when Brogan and Cullen went off, they were left without a left-footed freetaker. You would then have to question the management team how they ended up like that.

“Had they a left-footed freetaker, I think Dublin would have got over the line, regardless of Cork pulling out all the stops.”

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