Éamonn Fitzmaurice hopes the severity of Colm Cooper’s collarbone injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
The Kerry stalwart took a number of blows early in the first half before he was forced to retire in the 21st minute when Michael Geaney was introduced in his stead.
Cooper’s arm was immediately put in a sling but the Kerry medical team are reasonably satisfied he hasn’t done significant damage.
“He was sore,” said Fitzmaurice. “He got a bang on his shoulder but the medical gang there were a bit more hopeful afterwards. They didn’t think it was bad as first thought. So he’ll get it assessed this week and hopefully it won’t be too bad.”
Cooper has four weeks to be ready for Kerry’s All-Ireland quarter-final. Peter Crowley was replaced late by Aidan O’Mahony yesterday having picked up a nose injury in a collision with Johnny Buckley in training.
Fitzmaurice remarked: “He got a nose injury, we gave him up to today to see if he would be alright, but his breathing was still a bit restricted.”
While satisfied to make it a 10th game unbeaten in the province under his tenure, Fitzmaurice knew there is a lot of room to improve on from yesterday’s display: “Obviously, conceding two goals wasn’t great. There were parts of our performance that were very good, there were parts of the game where we went a bit flat and made mistakes which brought Tipperary back into the game.
“But it was a tricky game and there was a lot of talk out there. It can be hard to control that at times. From our point of view, we’re delighted to have won the game with something to spare but at the same time with a lot to work on for the next day.”
Restricting Tipperary to 2-3 from play, the first of those points coming in the 53rd minute, was at least a badge of honour for the Kerry back-line.
“Defensively, individually a lot of the lads played well. You’d be disappointed with the two goals but 10 points is a good score to hold a team to. Liam Kearns expressed surprise at how many Kerry players got themselves behind the ball. Fitzmaurice explained: “We weren’t looking down the road but I think that was the way the game was, more than fellas dropping back, they were being sucked back by the way Tipperary were running at us.
“Particularly, the way the lads got past us, they ended up too deep at times. We struggled then to get the ball back up the field. Again it’s something we need to work on.
“We’re never looking down the road, we’re looking at the game in front of us. Simple as that.”
There were also words of support from Fitzmaurice for Kerry’s best players on the day, Paul Geaney and Paul Murphy, as well as James O’Donoghue on his first piece of action for Kerry this year, coming on to notch four points.
“It was great to get him back and from his own point of view, that is closure on the injury now. He got a couple of scores which is good for his confidence and again, he is another fella who you would expect to kick on in the next couple of weeks. He has county championship next weekend and hopefully he will come on another couple of levels.”
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