Kerry football manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has revealed Kieran Donaghy’s game-changing goal in the 2014 All-Ireland final was no fluke.
With Kerry ahead 1-5 to 0-7 in the 52nd minute, Donaghy pounced on a Paul Durcan restart to fire home their second goal of the contest.
The Kerry boss claims the score was due to the opposition’s detailed preparation, coupled with Donaghy’s perseverance.
“To most people looking on, they would have thought it was a lucky goal and Paul Durcan had made a mistake,” Fitzmaurice said at yesterday’s Club Limerick business breakfast, “but what people wouldn’t realise is we had seen from the video analysis of Donegal Paul Durcan liked to go short.”
He explained: “They liked to create a four v three in their full-back line. Leo McLoone used to come down just behind Kieran Donaghy’s shoulder and Paul Durcan would chip left or right every time.
“From the first kick-out, Kieran Donaghy was guessing left and right, trying to get in Paul Durcan’s eye and trying to put him off. Early in the game, you can see Durcan going to the umpires to give out that Donaghy was too close. He got in his head early on.”
Management had told the full-forward, similar to a penalty shootout, they required just the one intervention.
And midway through the second-half, Donaghy finally got his hands on a Donegal kick-out.
“In fairness, he kept at it and eventually guessed correct. He went left as Paul Durcan was kicking it. He got it, kept his composure and stuck it. That was an example of where the detail had been looked after beforehand.”
A game which went against Kerry, despite the necessary homework being carried out, was the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final. Level at 3-11 to 1-17 in the 68th minute, Fitzmaurice said Michael Darragh Macauley’s dive to knock the ball into the path of Kevin McManamon for a Dublin goal has become a pivotal moment in the rivalry between the counties, largely because the Kingdom have lost every championship meeting since.
“The preparation went fine, we did a lot right during the game, but the key incident went against us.
“When the sides were level, Cian O’Sullivan threw himself at Declan O’Sullivan’s boot. Declan rushed his shot and it went barely wide. Dublin went long from the resulting kick-out.
“Two Kerry men went for the same ball. It was still there for another Kerry lad, but Michael Darragh Macauley just dived at the ball. He got a fingertip to it to knock it into the path of Kevin McManamon.
“Regardless of the detail beforehand, it came down to Cian O’Sullivan, first of all, forcing Declan to shoot under pressure and then Michael Darragh Macauley winning a ball against the head.
“So, while a lot of detail goes into the preparation, it still comes down to the players reacting to what is in front of them. It was a pivotal moment in that game and it was a pivotal moment in our rivalry because we haven’t been able to beat them since.”
Fitzmaurice added: “When you do lose, it only makes you more determined to come back again. We haven’t won in a couple of years so the hunger levels are where they need to be. Hopefully, 2017 can be a good year for us.”
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