Éamonn Fitzmaurice: Lee Keegan ‘way off the mark’ on ‘dirty’ Kerry tackle

Lee Keegan’s criticism of the “very dirty tackle” which left Evan Regan with a broken jaw was “way off the mark”, according to Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice.

Éamonn Fitzmaurice: Lee Keegan ‘way off the mark’ on ‘dirty’ Kerry tackle

Lee Keegan’s criticism of the “very dirty tackle” which left Evan Regan with a broken jaw was “way off the mark”, according to Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice, writes Eoghan Cormican.

Mayo forward Regan was visibly dazed after Ronan Shanahan’s challenge early in the second-half of Mayo’s league defeat to the Kingdom last weekend and had to be helped off the pitch.

Shanahan was yellow-carded for the foul, described by Keegan this week as “a very bad challenge” and a “very dirty tackle”.

Fitzmaurice responded last night, disagreeing strongly with the picture painted by the 2016 footballer of the year.

Before doing so, it should be added, he wished Regan a speedy recovery.

“It wasn’t a dirty tackle at all. It was a genuine attempt to play the ball and I don’t think Lee looked back at the replay of the incident, with the comments he made.

“There was absolutely no intent on Ronan Shanahan’s part. I spoke to him and he said the same thing. I knew it from looking at the replay of the incident myself. I refute Lee Keegan’s assertion that there was any malice in Ronan’s tackle.”

Shanahan was later dismissed on a second yellow. Gavin Crowley, who had been sent off in their league opener against Donegal, followed Shanahan to the line three minutes later, getting a black card to go with the yellow he received earlier in the game. Brian Ó Beaglaoich was also black-carded in Castlebar.

Their on-field discipline, Fitzmaurice noted, needs a bit of work.

“Any day you are getting cards, you have to look at it and examine did we deserve the cards, can we improve, can we avoid getting them because as soon as you get yourself into card trouble, regardless of the colour, it’s going to affect the team.”

Neither David Clifford (hamstring) nor Sean O’Shea (calf) will feature at Inniskeen tomorrow.

Fitzmaurice said there was no falling out between himself and IT Tralee’s Sigerson Cup management team, given Clifford had no involvement in their quarter-final defeat to DIT on Tuesday. O’Shea did not tog for UCC a day later.

“Player welfare would be top of our lists of concerns always. All the lads who played Sigerson Cup this week would have worn GPS units from us to monitor their load, so we are on top of where they are at. But, unfortunately, you do get situations where David [Clifford] tweaked his hamstring last weekend and it was disappointing for everyone.

“These injuries can happen and with regard to any rift or row that has been reported between IT Tralee and me, there wasn’t one. I dealt with Éamonn Fitzgerald (IT Tralee GAA Officer) the whole way through it, the same as I deal with Billy Morgan in UCC and John Divilly in UCD. There were open lines of communication and we both knew what was going on.”

On tomorrow’s opponents, he concluded: “Monaghan were unlucky not to get something the first day out against Mayo when there was a blatant foul at the end of the game. They didn’t get the free and Mayo went up the field and kicked the winner. They are unlucky not to be on full points. Of the three games so far, I expect it to be by far the toughest.”

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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