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Saturday 21 September 2019

We were like Fred Flintstone against Galway - Geaney

CRAVING: Paul Geaney. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
CRAVING: Paul Geaney. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

How do you sum up Kerry's hugely frustrating summer of 2018? Paul Geaney can think of a few apt descriptions: they veered from flawless at the start to "Fred Flintstone" when they got to Croke Park.

But now a new championship under a new boss (Peter Keane) dawns in Ennis this Saturday, with Geaney craving the upward form graph that Kerry will need if they're to end Dublin's drive for five and their own five-year All-Ireland famine.

Harking back to last summer's 0-32 to 0-10 demolition of Clare, the Dingle man describes it as "probably the best performance that a Kerry team I have been involved with ever put down. We were pretty much flawless on the day, but no disrespect to Clare ... I would have said afterwards that we would nearly have beaten anybody that day, we were so good.

"We kicked 31 or 32 points and we hardly put a foot wrong all day.

"Then we went down to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and we played very well against Cork. We gave up a goal or two but, other than that, we were dominant."

Éamonn Fitzmaurice's mix of new and old had cruised through Munster by a cumulative 39 points - far from ideal preparation, hindsight would suggest, for the Super 8s.

Energy

"We went to Croke Park - the energy was just sapped out of us, 10-15 minutes into that game, and it was hard to get going against a good Galway team," Geaney recalls, speaking at AIB's SFC launch.

"It's just impossible to explain really ... it's one of those days where you feel like Fred Flintstone. The legs are going 90, but you are going nowhere.

"It took the momentum out of us and we paid the price after. It was very frustrating, hugely frustrating, but you'd hope that this year we hopefully get it all right when it matters."

Geaney doesn't have to expand on what constitutes "when it matters". For Kerry, winners of the last six Munster titles but just one All-Ireland (2014) in this era of Dublin dominance, it's all about Sam.

"It's a lot harder when you lose, it's almost like a death in the family. You'll grieve for months afterwards, especially if it's an All-Ireland," says Geaney, who joined the panel in 2011 and made his SFC debut in 2013.

"I suppose any guy that's going into a team that's been successful before, at the start you're probably saying, 'Well, Kerry have one in every two years and I'm 20 and I'm going to play for 10 years so I'm going to win at least five All-Irelands' ... but it doesn't work like that.

"After 2014, Dublin were only after winning one or two at the time, you were looking at it and saying, 'We are here now to stay.'

"But we were beaten in 2015 and we haven't seen a final since. So it's tough. But you've just got to try to keep going to get back there."

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