Eamonn Fitzmaurice delighted in the "position of power" enjoyed by his team at the end of yesterday’s contest, far removed from their lowly standing seven days previous.
The two-point win over Donegal cements Kerry’s place in the top half of the Division 1 table, their league fate now very much in their own hands.
Next up is the visit of Monaghan on March 29, a fixture Kerry can look forward to with a fair amount of optimism. This in stark contrast to their preparation for the Donegal game, Fitzmaurice admitting his troops spent much of the week “digging”, having collapsed so inauspiciously in the 11-point hammering to Cork.
“The beauty of it is when you win the game and have two points on the board, we have two weeks now and there’s a lot to work on there. But I’d much prefer to be where we are this week looking forward, having two points on the board, whereas last week we were digging a bit after losing so poorly.
“You are moving on from a position of power, still in the league and further away from the possibility of relegation so that’s a positive,” he said.
So, what changed in the space of a week?
“Everyone upped their game from myself, the management and the players. We were disappointed with last weekend and we weren’t too happy on Monday morning when we woke up.
“We trained twice this week and had two good sessions. We were far more tuned in. We were desperate to get those two points on the board and we’re delighted it worked out that way.
“We got better performances from players and unless you’re getting that from most of the players on the field you are not going to win games. Last weekend we didn’t. Cork were a good bit better than us. Their attitude was better. This weekend we were more focused and that helped our performance.”
On the timing of Kerry’s first goal, supplied by Barry John Keane after 48 minutes, he added: “It was important because we were all getting frustrated that we were on top really, but we were missing the chances. Barry John gave us breathing space at a time when we needed it.”
Fitzmaurice singled out man of the match Johnny Buckley for particular praise.
“He was outstanding. All the lads put their shoulder to the wheel but Johnny was excellent. He plays out of position for us, his natural position would be midfield and he has played there in the past. He won a lot of ball and works hard for the team. He did last week too when he kept trying hard right to the end.”
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