CONTRAST COLM COOPER’S drawn Munster final experience with his replay experience.
He cut a frustrated figure a fortnight ago in a game when Kerry had to be bailed out late on by Fionn Fitzgerald to claim a draw.
For last Saturday’s replay it was Cooper back at the heart of a Kerry success, his speed of thought and stroke of ingenuity setting in motion the move that resulted in Paul Geaney’s game changing 50th minute goal.
Copper was satisfied with the outcome of the game while stressing the need for patience and hard work on his part as he continues his comeback.
“I’m much happier than I was this time two weeks ago. It didn’t work the last day. We were struggling in a number of areas and I didn’t get a chance to get on the ball as much but tonight was different.
“Maybe things don’t come as easy as they once did, that you have to work that little bit harder for them and that’s fine.
“I’ve always set high standards of myself and the expectation is always high so when you don’t meet it you get disappointed and maybe frustrated is the word sometimes too.
“Sometimes I have to keep reminding myself that I was away for the game for so long with a serious injury. I need to reach a certain level to make sure I’m in this Kerry team and playing my part.”
Cooper admits to a level of frustration over not commanding a starting berth but has no qualms in fighting for his place.
“It is frustrating but a lot less frustrating than this time last year. You are looking to break into an All-Ireland winning team. Regardless of what you have done in the past it doesn’t count for anything so I’m just plugging away.
“I feel I have to fight for it. There are 30 other guys who feel they should be there. I want to play, no doubt about that.
“I don’t make decisions. To be fair to Eamonn he has made changes when he has needed to and he has been very successful on the back of that last year. You can’t question him.”
And the Dr Crokes player is confident his fitness is up to scratch.
“Look, I think I have but it’s up to the management. They’re the ones that are watching training every night. That’s what I’m working towards so if you’re out for 14 months you can’t expect to be up to 70 minutes of Championship football at that sort of intensity.
“Heading for Croke Park now, one of my favourite venues, that’s a step definitely in the right direction.”