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Thursday 17 August 2017

'Dublin have used their resources brilliantly'

Éamonn Fitzmaurice.. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Éamonn Fitzmaurice.. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice says it is the duty of those football counties lagging behind the current top four to catch up.

The four teams who will contest the All-Ireland semi-finals in Croke Park - Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone and Mayo, have done so as a group in four of the last six seasons.

Since 2011, only seven counties - the above four plus Donegal, Cork and Tipperary - have played at this exalted stage of the Championship.

"I do think if you're behind, it's up to you to catch up. I mean we're behind Dublin and we're trying to catch up to them," he outlined.

"So I think the onus is on the other counties to try and catch up. Be it structures-wise, be it with the way their teams are playing, be it with their conditioning.

"You can do an awful lot. I think people think it's all money, it's money and it has to be money. It's not. I think you can do a lot if you get the proper environment, the proper people, the proper training.

"You can achieve a lot."

Kerry are close to opening their new €8m centre of excellence at Currans while Dublin's financial clout and their commercial earning potential has been a topic of much debate since their breakthrough All-Ireland SFC win in 2011.

Fitzmaurice was adamant however, that value for money - rather than just money itself - was the key to success.

"It helps. Absolutely it helps," he admitted.

"Of course, when you have the finance to put things in place that you want to. But that's a huge debate.

"How is the finance being spent? Is it being spent on managers, management teams? Back-room gurus?

"Or is it being spent on things for the players. There's plenty of money being spent in every county. So I don't accept that argument, no.

Rewards

"I think Dublin have used their resources in a brilliant manner for the last ten years or more and they're reaping the rewards.

"It boils down to a lot more than that."

The Kerry manager is convinced that gap between the top four teams and everyone else was less pronounced than the All-Ireland quarter-final results suggested.

"I think the margins are a lot smaller …. look, of course, the quarter-finals threw up big wins or whatever.

"But I don't think the margins are as big as people think they are. Last year, you had Tipperary as one of the last four.

"I know at the start of this year, you would have predicted a top four that are there. But you wouldn't have predicted a lot of the other things that went on in the Championship.

"You wouldn't have predicted Down beating Monaghan. You wouldn't have predicted Armagh beating Kildare. Maybe people would have given Galway a chance of beating Mayo in Salthill but you would have said (Mayo) would have learned from last year.

"So there's always upsets and there's always plenty of talking points. I don't know what more people want."

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