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'With all due respect to people, their opinions don’t count. Our opinions count. That’s it'

Kingdom boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice says he pays no attention to criticism from outside the camp.

KERRY MANAGER EAMONN Fitzmaurice says he is “comfortable” in his relationship with Kingdom supporters, which he admits “is challenging” when results don’t go their way.

Éamonn Fitzmaurice Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

In an entertaining hour-long interview on Radio Kerry’s Terrace Talk last night, Fitzmaurice spoke about how he avoids outside criticism and rubbished the suggestion that Kerry have become too defensive under his reign.

“I don’t see what is in the papers, especially for the championship,” he said. “I read nothing. I’m not on social media, I’m very private. I stick to my own couple of friends and my family.

“I’ve enough of expertise around me without wondering what every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks. Everyone has an opinion and that’s healthy. Ultimately, and with all due respect to people, their opinions don’t count. Our opinions count. That’s it. That’s what I trust.

“My family, my siblings, my wife Tina, we all went into this with our eyes wide open. We know what is at stake and how important football is in Kerry. If things are going well, everything is hunky-dory. Then when results are going against you, it is challenging. We are tough enough. We keep the head down, we plough on and try to get the results.

“Ultimately, in Kerry, you have to be successful. When you are successful, it is grand. When you are not, there is going to be question marks. I’m comfortable with that.”

Eamonn Fitzmaurice Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Fitzmaurice said Kerry’s style of play has evolved with the modern game and they haven’t abandoned their attacking instincts.

“If you want to win you have to be strong without the ball and with the ball,” he said.

“Every year you have to evolve. We are evolving. We tried out different things during the league. Some worked, some didn’t, some will add to us during the summer. That’s, ultimately, what it is all about. Getting game plans and styles of play in place will maximise the talent at our disposal and get us over the line in games.

“If you isolate moments in games, of course teams are very defensive. All teams are defensive without the ball, particularly if you are playing against a very defensive team.

“That is a debate I am not going to win. To answer your question, there has to be different things. What we brought the last couple of years hasn’t been good enough. We just have to slightly tweak things, keep improving, keep innovating.”

Fitzmaurice was happy with how the league went for Kerry as they blooded a number of youngsters and the Super 8s will require a big panel.

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“There is going to be severe competition for places, both on the starting 15 and the lads who are coming in to finish games. If we get to the Super 8s, you need a big squad. And you need a lot of fellas going well.

“If you’re successful, you have three games in four weeks. You could have four games in five weeks. You’ll need a big squad and we are happy with the strength of the squad.

“We spent five weeks last summer kicking our heels in Killarney waiting for the All-Ireland quarter-final. You can’t fear games.”

James O’Donoghue Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Finuge man also delivered a squad update, with the news that Donnchadh Walsh, Kieran Donaghy and Anthony Maher have resumed training ahead of their championship opener against Limerick or Clare on 3 June.

James O’Donoghue is nearing a comeback from injury and may see action with his club this month, while Killian Young is a few weeks away from his return.

“Hopefully James will get a club game or two in over the next couple of weeks to get that bit of sharpness back into him as well.

“Killian is still a couple of weeks away but has made good progress as well. It’s been very frustrating for Killian because he has been out for a good while with it but he’s done absolutely everything that’s been asked of him.

“He’s been very diligent with it, the medical gang are working really hard with him and we’re hoping (he’ll be back) in the next couple of weeks.

“Earlier on in the year we had a share of long-term injuries but all of the lads have moved out of that bracket now.”

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