Saturday 19 January 2019

Fitzmaurice: We'll keep going until we beat 'incredible' Dublin

Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kerry manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

It is to Éamonn Fitzmaurice's eternal credit that he absorbs all these questions about Dublin and manages to utter something at least vaguely enlightening by way of response.

Perhaps he feels it's a penance for losing to them in each of their three Championship matches and four of their five League meetings in his otherwise progressive tenure but always, he is instructive without resorting to plamás.

"I think the consistency they have brought to it is incredible," he said in the preamble to tonight's clash in Tralee, easily the most widely anticipated League match in a generation for all the reasons mentioned on these pages and everywhere else this week.

"I saw a stat a couple of weeks ago concerning the great Kilkenny team that won four All-Irelands in the middle of the last decade and their longest winning streak between league and championship ran to 14 games.

"That puts in context what they're doing.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

"It is incredible what they are doing.

"Their level of consistency, their level of performance week in, week out, year in, year out is unbelievable.


"Championship is one thing. But when you put all the variables that come into it during the league and they've managed to do what they've done, it is incredible.

"But," he added, pointedly, "every team is beatable. They are beatable.

"Whether it will happen this Saturday night or not, I don't know.

"It will happen at some stage. I'd love if it was this Saturday night."

The Kerry squad don't strike you as the sort of group that develops a complex easily but the Dublin thing, clearly, has taken its toll.

They haven't just won with an awesome degree of regularity against Kerry, they've done it in matches that define players' careers. Fitzmaurice is more inclined to see an opportunity than a threat.


"Sometimes, our group, the lads can be relaxed against certain opposition and it can show in our performance," he admitted.

"Against the likes of a Dublin, the fact that they have won so many games and the fact that they have been so consistent, it will be a huge motivating factor."

Clearly, a Kerry win tonight would neither remove the scarring memories of four Championship losses, nor would it herald the beginning of the end for the Dubs.

Regardless, it's importance can't be denied.

"We know we are close," Fitzmaurice noted. "Like anything, if you fail you come back and you go again.

"That is what we have been doing everything time and we have been getting closer and closer.

"We'll keep going until we get there."

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