Kerry may have a chance to exact revenge on Galway in Fitzgerald Stadium, in Killarney, on July 13 or 14, but David Moran is not sure it’s an advantage for the Munster champions to have their home game first day out this year.
An amendment to the Super 8 schedule was made at Congress, so all four provincial winners will open the All-Ireland quarter-finals at home, instead of at Croke Park (as was the case last year, when Galway surprised Kerry).
The three-point loss proved cataclysmic and should Galway win their fourth-round qualifier the weekend after next, they will face the Kingdom again. However, Moran says: “I think that these things are results-driven. We would have been delighted with the game in Croke Park last year, had we won it. If we win in Killarney, it’ll be great; if we lose, it’ll be said ‘wouldn’t it have been great to have the game there, at the end, to try and get over the line’. We’ll look forward to that game in good time. We’re delighted to get over the line here and we’ll think about the Super 8s later.”
Moran accepts Saturday’s win over Cork was disjointed, but was thankful for it, as he was for his eighth Munster medal.
We knew, coming in, that Cork were in a better position than they had been the last couple of years, so we knew it was going to be tough. I know, sometimes, that line is thrown out, but we genuinely knew it was going to be tough and we’re delighted with that. It was a good, tough game and we came out on the right side of it. Sometimes, a good tough game away, when we get through it, you can’t write it off.
“The game didn’t have a huge amount of shape. It was kinda like all-out attack from both teams, running from deep. That happens sometimes and it’s hard to slow things down and get the shape, but we came out on the right side of it, so we’re happy.”
Kerry faced an awkward wind in the second-half and this was compounded by Paul Geaney’s sending-off for a yellow-and-black card combination. But Kerry brazened-it-out. “You saw, in the first-half, Cork found it very hard to score and it was tricky. Cork kicked some great scores into the City End in the second-half and we found it easier to score there, too. It was definitely a factor, but when you get a bit of a momentum, it’s easier to score anyway.
“When you go a man down against a running team like that, it’s very hard, because they mind the ball so well, but we’re happy to get out of it.”
Kerry manager, Peter Keane, emphasised that five of the team — Shane Ryan, Tom O’Sullivan, Jack Sherwood, Diarmuid O’Connor, and Dara Moynihan — were starting their first Munster final.
How are these [young] lads going to get experience, only by throwing them in and letting them have a cut at it? You are going to have to give them time and let them see how they get on. We have a very young team and for them to react as they did was very pleasing.
Kerry stayed composed when Paul Geaney was dismissed in the 55th minute and when this was immediately followed by a James Loughrey point that left the minimum between them.
“There were a couple of games in the league which were tight nearing the end, but we pushed on and pulled away. That is something we were happy with. Now, you don’t want to be losing a man, but we did show great composure. They showed great fighting spirit. We are guaranteed three extra games now,” Keane says.
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Mike Quirke reviews the GAA weekend with Oisín McConville, Donncha O'Connor and Tony Leen.