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'There were no hard feelings': Eamonn Fitzmaurice on Brendan Kealy's Kerry departure

He also had some kind words for former Cork manager Peadar Healy.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

EAMONN FITZMAURICE HAS opened up about the circumstances that led to Brendan Kealy’s departure from the Kerry squad earlier this month.

The former All-Star announced he was walking away from the county set-up due to a lack of game-time.

Kealy had shared his place in the side with fellow stopper Brian Kelly, before the latter cemented the number one spot for the championship.

“It was disappointing and I was disappointed for Brendan himself, in particular,” said Fitzmaurice. “He was frustrated with a lack of game-time and you can understand that, especially with the position he’s in.

“Generally the way we’ve gone in the championship, once one of the lads has got a hold of it, that’s been in it for the summer.

“Brian has been playing very well as well. It was disappointing for him and he was frustrated. Again, I understand it. There were no hard feelings. I wished him the best of luck and it was mutual and that was it.”

Kerry called up two goalkeepers to replace the departing Kealy, with Shane Murphy and Shane Ryan introduced to the camp.

“Both of them have been in our plans since the start of the season but as the season went on, Shane Ryan has been involved with the Under 21s. Shane Murphy was involved in the Dr Crokes’ All-Ireland run.

“Then Brendan departed then, it was an opportunity for the two lads to come in. And of course they were chomping at the bit and delighted to get the call and they are fighting it now at the moment.”

Fitzmaurice also paid tribute to Peadar Healy, whose two-year tenure came to an end after Cork’s extra-time defeat to Mayo on Saturday.

“That was a major sign of him, how dignified he was at the end. He would have been well entitled to have had a bit of a cut as he was going. He did get a lot of stick. That’s the nature of the position, unfortunately. Peadar would have known that going in; he would have had his eyes wide open.

“He worked with Conor Counihan. He was their coach when they won the All-Ireland in 2010. He knew up close and personal what it was like. He knew it was a tough gig taking it over. He took it over out of duty and love of Cork. He did his best. With that Cork team, they weren’t that far away.

“They showed last Saturday night how good they can be and that they were going to get even better. I’m sure in another way that Peadar would have loved to have been staying on to continue to the good work he has done over the last two years. But it is about results.

“If you are getting results, people can be giving out all they want. But once when you are winning, you can get away with it. If you start losing, the heat will come on for sure.”

Fitzmaurice believes the future is bright for football in Cork.

“I don’t think they are far away at all. They showed it on Saturday night. They have a lot of good young players coming through. They got exposure the last night. Sean White came on during Saturday’s game and he was outstanding in the 2016 Munster U21 final.

“Then you have the Michael Hurley’s, the Powters. They’ve plenty of talent coming through. I’m not too worried for Cork, to be honest about it!”

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