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Saturday 1 October 2016

'Dubs the best I've played'

Kingdom's latest attacking star Geaney still reckons Mayo 'have what it takes' in final

Kerry's Paul Geaney reckons Dublin are the best side he's faced
Kerry's Paul Geaney reckons Dublin are the best side he's faced

Not that Paul Geaney is in any way at peace with Dublin's superiority over Kerry at the moment but he is, after the seismic events of two Sundays back, at least now broadly in agreement with football's current hierarchy.

Easily Kerry's best forward this summer, Geaney admits to harbouring notions after last year's All-Ireland that "we were better than them".

"We didn't produce it on the day," he recalls, though Geaney now accepts Dublin's bona fides as football's most compelling force.

"We produced it the last day and they beat us fair and square," he admits.

"So at the moment they're the best team that I've ever played against."

Which wouldn't bode too well for Mayo except that Geaney reckons - again from experience - that Stephen Rochford's men "have it in them to beat Dublin".

"As intensity in games go, the only other game that rates as highly (as this year's semi-final) is the game against Mayo in Limerick in 2014.

"Intensity levels in that game were on a par with the last day, if not at some stages over it as well.

"In sport it's man against man, Mayo have been there before but it's up to them to try and get over the line against Dublin, the All-Ireland champions, who are the best team at the moment.

"Until Mayo prove that wrong or someone else proves that wrong, Dublin are the best team in the country and everyone else has their work cut out to beat them.

"Constantly, time after time, they just produce the goods," he adds.

"They're a phenomenal team, they play with serious intensity and they do it time after time in every game."

For all that, Kerry infused a brief panic in the Dublin ranks in that 10 minutes before half-time that looked like it might be terminal.

There and then, the All-Ireland champions' newly-established reputation for being able to control even the most turbulent of matches lay in shreds.

"We said 'we are going to make Dublin make a few mistakes and we are going to capitalize on them'," he recalls.

"And we did in fairness in those kick-outs.

"Cluxton has been getting a bit of a raw deal for the part he had to play in them. Maybe he was (culpable).

"But the other part is maybe he was backed into a corner a small bit and he had to face something he hadn't seen before, except for maybe Donegal pushed up on them a small bit in the quarter-final but not to the extent that we did.

"So it was something new that we threw at Dublin," Geaney outlined. "It fazed them for a small while but we didn't get the chance then to do it much in the second half. After that then they produced the goods and everything else."

Naturally then, Geaney is determined to get another crack at Dublin and reverse the dynamic of rivalry.

"We are the team really to make sure that there's no three-in-a-row, four-in-a-row (for Dublin)," he admits.

He is happy, too, that Éamonn Fitzmaurice has agreed to remain as Kerry manager for another two years.

According to Geaney, Fitzmaurice had already informed the players earlier this summer of his intentions and his relationship towards his manager has not altered despite being taken off in a move Fitzmaurice has since accepted may have been a mistake.

"If it's a mistake he feels he made … many's a game I made mistakes," Geaney shrugs.

"Sometimes, you admit them. We all make mistakes.

"If Éamonn feels that he wants to state that he made a mistake, fair play - it takes a man to admit a mistake. I don't think he needed to.

tactical

"He gave me the explanation that it was a tactical change and that was enough.

"He just said it was a tactical change when I came off. And it clearly was a change that he felt needed to be done.

"We buy into everything that Éamonn does and he made the call," Geaney concludes.

"And you just have to live with it. "

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