The homework carried out by Kerry on their opponents leading into yesterday’s final was a key factor in the county’s third consecutive minor success, according to Peter Keane.
“We put a lot of work into our match-ups. Their two big guys were Evan Murphy and Robert Finnerty and both got substituted,” said the Kerry manager.
“Our defence was excellent today. David Naughton was superb, Michael Potts was superb, Dan O’Brien worked very hard and Mícheál Foley did well. We conceded three goals against Cork and we were very conscious of that. We didn’t want to concede anymore against Derry and the next thing we conceded two, which we weren’t happy with. We went out with a definite plan against Kildare and it was the same today. Goals win games. We didn’t concede any and we got three.
“We always knew it was going to be exceptionally tough. There were fellas I knew saying this was going to be a stroll because of the scores we’d been kicking all year – far from it. From the way we had seen Galway set-up against Donegal, we knew there wasn’t going to be a whole pile of space. We knew they were going to be targeting our full-forward and our half-forward lines with the scores they had been kicking. To keep us to 10 scores overall was a fair credit to them.”
Keane also hailed the composure of his charges during what was, at times, a frustrating opening period.
“After 18 minutes it was a point to nothing. That would remind you of a south Kerry championship in December when the fields are heavy. The one huge factor was it was like an ice rink out there, the ball was like a bar of soap.
“This team have a great workmanlike attitude. There were a lot of mistakes made there today but they persevered and stayed at it. That’s a credit to the team and the work-rate they have.”
Keane was keen to play down the significance of the three-in-a-row and the theory it is born out of the investment in coaching in recent years.
“Three-in-a-row means nothing to me, and I don’t think it means a whole pile to those fellas.
“You had fellas there today winning their first All-Ireland medal. It’s not like they won it last year and the year before.
“History is great, it is great to see we are in with some gang in the 1930’s but so what? It’s all about these fellas winning an All-Ireland medal.” He added: “There’s a lot of vibe about [the investment in coaching] over the last couple of years but ultimately it comes down to players.
“We as coaches can sometimes get carried away and talk about how good we are, but if you don’t have players you won’t win games. That’s the key.
“We have the players at the moment.”
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