Much of the pre-match build up has been dominated by tales of a growing bitterness between the counties stretching back to their All-Ireland final meetings in the last decade.
But Fitzmaurice expressed disappointment at claims and counter claims of such a poisonous rivalry, adding that he had nothing but respect for Tyrone and their manager, Mickey Harte.
The Kerry boss said: “I played in 2003 and 2005 and we had no problem as a group of players in accepting that Tyrone was the better team. In 2008, there was nothing between the teams, with Tyrone winning thanks to a Paschal McConnell save right at the end of the game. We had massive respect for that group of players and for Mikey Harte and for what they achieved. Speaking as a former player, I have massive respect for all those Tyrone players. I am disappointed with some of the stuff that has gone on in the media in recent times and you can only conclude that maybe its coming from those who have moved on from the scene and might still wanting to keep their names in the picture. Any time I have met those Tyrone players socially or anything, there is huge respect there. The same applies to Mickey Harte whom I have huge respect for and what he has achieved, what he goes through and he still there at the coalface, still applying himself as well as ever, developing another team, probably his third or fourth. So it is disappointing some of the stuff that is going on in the media. We are not looking at any of the sideshows on Sunday. We are going up to play a football game, nothing else.”
Lose tomorrow and Kerry will drop down to Division Two. Win, and the Kerry camp will be relying on results elsewhere to decide their fate. Fitzmaurice hopes to at least finish the campaign with a win. “If we win Sunday and go down, we will be unlucky to down on six points. As disappointing as that will be at least you will be approaching the championship in a positive frame of mind and with a bit of momentum. If we lose on Sunday and go down – then yes it will be very disappointing. Four points from the league will not be good enough, and I would not be happy with it. If we had got a result in Kildare we could be going to Omagh to play for a semi-final place.”
Fitzmaurice has handed starts to Eoin Brosnan, Colm Cooper and Paul Galvin for the game which will be televised live on TG4.
Meanwhile, Mayo full forward Jason Doherty has failed to recover from a groin injury and joins Keith Higgins and Barry Moran on the county’s missing list for tomorrow’s clash with Cork. Tom Cunniffe has overcome his Achilles injury and has been named at centre back. Shane McHale makes his first start since Mayo’s opening day victory over Kerry and only his second since last year’s league loss to Cork in Elverys MacHale Park.
KERRY (SF v Tyrone): B Kealy; M Ó Sé, M Griffin, S Enright; T Ó Sé, E Brosnan, K Young; A Maher, J Buckley; J Lyne, C Cooper, P Galvin; Declan O’Sullivan, K Donaghy, Darran O’Sullivan.
Subs: B Kelly, D Walsh, K O’Leary, B McGuire, F Fitzgerald, P Crowley, J O’Donoghue, B Sheehan, P Curtin, J Sherwood, M Geaney.
LIMERICK (SF v Clare): B Scanlon; A Lane, J McCarthy, M O’Riordan; S Lavin, P Brown, P Ranahan; T Lee, B O’Brien; D O’Connor, S Buckley, J Riordan; E O’Connor, G Collins, I Ryan.
MAYO (SF v Cork): D Clarke; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, S McHale; L Keegan, T Cunniffe, C Boyle; J Gibbons, S O’Shea; K McLoughlin, A O’Shea, C Carolan; C O’Connor, A Freeman, M Conroy.
Subs: K O’Malley, K Keane, M Walsh, D Vaughan, R Feeney, E Varley, E Regan, J Doherty, B Gallagher, D Coen, A Murphy.
MONAGHAN (SF v Antrim): R Beggan; D Mone, D Wylie, R McNally; C Walshe, D Hughes, K Duffy; O Lennon, N McAdam; G Doogan, K Hughes, O Duffy; C McManus, P Finlay, D Malone.
WEXFORD (v Laois): A Masterson; J Wadding, G Molloy, M Furlong; B Malone, D Murphy, L Chin; D Waters, R Quinlivan; J Holmes, R Barry, PJ Banville; S Roche, C Lyng, B Brosnan.
Subs: T Hughes, A Flynn, R Tierney, A Doyle, C Doyle, P Byrne, C Carty, S Culleton, B Mulligan. K O’Grady, K Kehoe.
LIMERICK (SH v Dublin): N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien, W McNamara, G O’Mahony; P Browne, J Ryan; C Allis, S Hickey, D Breen; K Downes, D Hannon, G Mulcahy.
DUBLIN (SH v Limerick): A Nolan; P Kelly, P Schutte, R Traynor; M Carton, C Keaney, S Durkin; J Boland, L Rushe; S Lambert, J McCaffrey, D Sutcliffe; D O’Callaghan, C McCormack, P Ryan.