Kerry ladies football has a spring in its step again after the frustration of relegation following a league campaign that didn’t bring a single point.
There is a new management team in place under Eddie Sheehy from the Na Gaeil Club in Tralee, the squad is now training at the Centre of Excellence at Currans and got to play their Munster semi-final not in Brosna or Knocknagoshel but Fitzgerald Stadium in front of 16,000 before the men’s game with Clare.
It’s a positive frame of mind ahead of tomorrow’s Munster final meeting with Cork, who are building a new team but retain a sprinkling of the 2016 All-Ireland winning side that completed six-in-a-row and 11 in 12 years still playing.
Cork will still be strong favourites to reclaim their Munster Crown but Kerry are in a far better place to deny them than they were when Cork hammered Kerry in the League out in Knocknagoshel.
“It was tough but as much as morale was low they are a great bunch of girls so they were soon back focusing on preparing for the Championship,” Sheehy said, of picking up the pieces after the league disappointment.
“They had been training well and maybe hearing a new voice in the dressing room helped, but the one quality these girls have is resilience in spades so they recovered quickly from the disappointment of being relegated.”
Sheehy believes not much needed to change in the group.
“The fitness levels were good when we came in so playing different styles of football is what we were working on. They just needed a small bit of guidance and hopefully we are bringing that to the table.”
They had to overcome a nervy start to beat Waterford in the semi-final and Sheehy credits home support for his side’s second-half comeback.
“Relegation was a downer for them but playing in Fitzgerald Stadium with a good Kerry crowd cheering them on in the second half was great for the girls and even soaking up the atmosphere afterwards was something the girls had never experienced.”
The Na Gaeil Club man knows that his team can’t afford a sluggish start this weekend against a clinical Cork side, who are itching to get their hands back on the Munster crown.
“Our defence was magnificent (in the semi-final) and we will have to be even better against Cork as their full-forward line can be deadly. Cork is a strong side, well-organised, they have an experienced manager, experienced players so they will be the favourites but we are looking forward to taking them on.”
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