Éamonn Fitzmaurice paid tribute to the players introduced off the bench in Kerry’s fifth win of the league, further highlighting, he maintained, the squad’s strength-in-depth.
Brendan O’Sullivan, Barry John Keane, Michael Geaney and, in particular, Fionn Fitzgerald, exerted considerable influence over Kerry’s success when sprung from the sideline yesterday.
“You have to give a lot of credit to the subs, they brought energy and helped close out the game,” said the winning manager. “We’re winning games and fellas are getting game time; we have had a good few tough tests throughout the league and we have come out the right side of it, which is good after the first two games.
“To be getting players doing well and getting them ready for championship is obviously the idea.”
Fitzmaurice is content with the squad he is building for championship and dismissed the suggestion that previous springs were a failure in terms of adding fresh faces to his set-up.
“In 2014, seven or eight fellas made their championship debut above in Clare in the Munster semi-final. It’s a very transparent policy that the fellas who are playing best in the county are in training with us. If they are the best players in training, they will get game time, either starting or coming on as a sub, and once you win games, you build on that. That’s the criteria.
“I know a good few players have played in the league, well into the 30’s, which is good. So from that point of view, we are happy. It’s early days and when championship comes around different fellas can be in form, have knocks or suspensions and different things come into it, so it’s about having a strong squad. Over the last couple of years we have developed it, there is a strong squad there and that’s what you need.”
Roscommon block their path to a first league final since 2008 and Fitzmaurice is adamant that his players face a “serious challenge” next weekend.
“We saw the quality Roscommon brought the day they beat us in Killarney.
“Maybe there was a big reaction and people felt it was a surprise, but we weren’t surprised because we knew the amount of training they had done and we knew the quality of player they had.
“I think they proved that subsequently in the league when they had a couple of great wins.
“They have beaten us already and it is a good incentive for our lads.”
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