The Kerry boss dismissed the notion that Stephen Rochford’s squad are running on fumes after seven championship outings, insisting last night that Mayo’s run to Sunday week’s All-Ireland semi-final has been “all but perfect”.
“I don’t buy into that (Mayo fatigue) at all. Over the past few weeks, they’ll have done very little training, they will have been tapering it the whole time. They’ve had a glut of games, and players will always thrive on games over training.
“When games comes thick and fast, players and management don’t have the time to be over-thinking. After finding their form at the right moment, they’ve been able to go straight into preparation for a semi-final against us.” Fitzmaurice was at Croke Park last Monday for Mayo’s seventh outing of the summer, a comprehensive dismantling of Connacht champions Roscommon in the quarter-final replay.
Would he preferred to have had Mayo’s busy run of games rather than the three Kerry have had to date against Clare, Cork and Galway.
“Players will always prefer games, but at least we’ve only had three weeks to wait between quarter and semi. Obviously for the first week and a bit of that, we didn’t know who we were playing, but that focus was quickly achieved once we gathered for training this week. I am happy where we are at, but cognisant of what Mayo did in 2016 after stumbling their way through much of the championship.
“They proceeded to deliver two huge final performances against Dublin and they obviously believe they are ready to do that again.”
Fitzmaurice said he didn’t have any particular view on the appointment of Maurice Deegan for the Kerry-Mayo semi-final. “At this stage of the championship, you would expect that you are getting the best referees, and the most experienced ones. We’re focusing on ourselves.”
Denis Daly, from St Mary’s, a member of the extended panel, picked up an injury in a club game last weekend, and has been unable to train, but Bryan Sheehan has recovered from a hamstring injury and has been taking a full part in training, Fitzmaurice confirmed.
He added that Kevin McCarthy should also be available for selection on Sunday week.He dismissed the notion that James O’Donoghue’s injury jinx threatened to break his momentum at a crucial stage of the campaign.
“He had just picked up a simple contact injury in the lead up to the Galway game which restricted his training, and maybe that showed on the day, but he’s perfectly fine.” *Meath referee David Coldrick has been appointed to the second SFC semi final between Dublin and Tyrone on August 27.