We had to hit the ground running, says Éamonn Fitzmaurice

It wouldn’t be amiss to say Kerry have never looked this impressive so early in the season under Éamonn Fitzmaurice.

And he wasn’t exactly denying it either.

“Well, other years there was mitigating circumstances. Other years there have been big team holidays and we have had very little training done. In 2013, we’d a lot of injuries, a lot of fellas on club duty and we won the McGrath Cup that year, which was probably a hindrance afterwards because it was the same pool of players that were playing five or six weeks in a row and we weren’t able to rotate much.

“This year, we’ve a bit of training done and more bodies available to us and that leads to better performances then.”

Fitzmaurice agreed the lack of semi-finals has also brought a focus to his team’s preparations. “Absolutely, there’s no doubt about it that with the semi-finals there was always the comfort that six or seven points could get you into a semi-final and the extra games as the league should be. You wonder if there should be any final but if there is a final it should only be the top two teams playing it and we know that from the start so we have to hit the ground running.”

Given the amount of youth he was trialling, Rory Gallagher would have had ready-made extenuating circumstances to cite for this defeat but he pointed to tactics too. “We made a decision that we were going with a certain type of play. We have probably changed it from what we were used to from the last four years. We have a very young team and lost Neil (McGee) before the game. But we said we would give everyone a go early on and you expect lots of tough days in the national league.”

Fitzmaurice confirmed Shane Enright was hospitalised after the early collision with Michael Murphy. It is believed he suffered a concussion. “It was a head injury – we haven’t got any news on him yet. By the time he had left here to go to hospital he was conscious and he was talking and he just got a bad bang to the head so we’re hoping it’s not something too major.” Apart from Enright, Kerry are likely to go with the same panel for Saturday’s visit of Mayo. Stephen O’Brien (hamstring) is unlikely to be considered.


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