Championship Preview: I am the captain - Kieran Donaghy, Kerry

The big issue is making sure the appetite isn’t sated:

It’s a hard one to try and get right. The management can only do so much. Players have to drive it and that’s the benefit of a number of experienced players coming back into us this season. They won’t let any standards drop, because they’ve never done so before — Colm, Tommy, Darran and Paul will keep that expectation and demands on us very high. That should stand us in good stead for the summer.

We are heading back, at the start of June, to our Algarve bolthole:

“It’ll be warmer this time, for sure. That means physically and mentally we will be under more pressure. It’s something different; we’ve never done a camp this late in the year. It’ll freshen things up, as well. We’ve done it as a fitness block in the past; very hard, intense sessions at Easter. This time, it’ll be more football- based, more focused on aspects of our game. It’ll be good to get everyone together on the plane. We’ve had a bit of club stuff lately, and Stacks have the county championship this weekend, against St Michael’s Foilmore, so it’s been a bit staggered. But once we get the county championship sorted, we’ve three weeks to go to the Tipperary or Waterford game.

Everyone is saying we’re flying up front, at the moment:

“And so people will automatically say the area of concern is the defence. You look at the attack and you say ‘they’re flying there, with all those options’, but our backs will have a lot of fighting for their own positions. Remember, Aidan O’Mahony and Marc Ó Sé are coming back in fully now. And they are going to be well-tested in every training session. But, remember, the forwards have a bit of gelling to do — just because you’ve numbers doesn’t mean things will click into gear, irrespective of what combination you pick. What set works in the full-forward line? What group clicks in the half-forward line? That’s more what I’m worried about — the backs can be worried about themselves!

I am the captain:

“I didn’t think much would change in me and I don’t think it has, so far as captain. I made that point to the lads at the start. Ok, there may be a stage in a game, or a training session, where I’ll flag up something I don’t necessarily like, and then I’ll speak honestly. But I’m not going to be looking to be talking for no reason. We’re happy with where we are, but it will be upped. There will be a time I will have to think about it, and what I am doing, but now I am one of the boys, I’m training. There’s other guys doing good barking, anyway.

The armband shouldn’t change your personality, right?

“I don’t want to be seen to be trying to come up with something artificial, when there’s no need to. Be genuine. Fellas don’t want to see you coming up with off-the-wall ideas — fellas want to see that you’re putting it in in training, leading by example — and then by my performances. I think I gave a decemnt account of myself in the league, now it’s about building from that. I’d be fairly straight with fellas — if they are doing stuff that I like, I’ll be massively complimentary, but if it goes the other way...I’m nit-picky anyway. If there’s stuff I don’t like going on, or facets of play I don’t like, I’ll say something, because I can’t hold it in. I am what I am. I’d say there’s no fella in there now saying ‘he’s doing a way more talking this year because he’s captain’. Do the basics right. I am big into that.



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