‘Down win was the turning point’ says Eamonn Fitzmaurice

However fractious the Rows of Tralee was when Donegal came to town, it wasn’t Kerry’s most important victory of the spring, Eamonn Fitzmaurice says.

That noteworthy result came in Newry, Co Down.

“We’d lost the first two games against Dublin and Roscommon,” Fitzmaurice says.

“Going up to Down and then winning in Tralee against Donegal — in front of our own people — was important to us because we had been poor in Killarney and we had been poor the last time Kerry played in Tralee against Monaghan last year.

“There was big motivation there.

“All of the wins were important in their own way but the most important one was the Down one, to get back winning and get points on the board.

“You’re looking up then but if we’d been beaten in Down, you’re scrapping to hold on to your Division One status. Instead, we were able to drive on and remain unbeaten since.”

Fitzmaurice accepted that being pointless after two games wasn’t a galloping surprise in the circumstances.

“A point or two out of those first two games and we would have been very happy because we had planned since last October that we were going to have a block of work in that break in February and then we’d be ready to hit the ground running for the three games in a row.

“We were putting pressure on ourselves and we needed to win those subsequent games. Like everything winning is a habit, once you win one game — which we did above in Down — it took off from there.”

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