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Fitzmaurice: After Cork rout, I knew we were on to something special

Kerry boss salutes the environment that bred a 37th All-Ireland success.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ALL-IRELAND WINNING Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has admitted he got ‘obsessed’ about chasing success this year.

The former Sam Maguire winning defender said he felt like a player all over again as he guided his team to an unexpected 37th All-Ireland title success.

“I won them as a player and I won one in 2009 as a selector with Jack (O’Connor),” said Fitzmaurice. “I would have said after that that nothing compares with being a player but this does very favourably. It does.

I felt like a player this summer. I don’t know, I promised myself I wouldn’t but I became obsessed and I was so excited going into training every night

“That’s down to the lads, to the players, down to the management team around me. It’s down to the backroom team, the backing of the county board.

“It’s a great environment to be working in so this one is every bit as special as any of the medals I won as a player.”

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Asked when he suspected that it may be an All-Ireland winning season for Kerry, Fitzmaurice said he had a feeling immediately after the Munster final when they hammered Cork.

“In Pairc Ui Chaoimh, I think,” he responded. “Now there was a good vibe in training but we were hot and cold, inconsistent. But in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, I knew we were onto something special.”

Potentially, it could all have been derailed if the man infamously spotted overlooking their training early last week in Fitzgerald Stadium had passed on vital secrets to Donegal. Exactly why the man was there remains unclear.

“You know, there’s been fellas trying to look in gates and what have you,” said Fitzmaurice. “It is what it is. I didn’t have anyone above in Ballybofey or wherever the lads train. I was happy enough with where we were at.

Now, this could have been a fella just doing it off his own back but it wasn’t a thing…last Tuesday night was probably a bit late for him to be there. If he had been there the previous week, he might have seen a bit more. Maybe he was and we didn’t see him. I don’t know!

Fitzmaurice said he wasn’t surprised with Kieran Donaghy’s tour de force since coming on as a sub in the drawn semi-final with Mayo. He didn’t play any part in the previous game against Galway.

“But the time he came training the Tuesday after the Galway game, he was a man on a mission,” said Fitzmaurice. “He had the bit between his teeth and his training form picked up. That’s the criteria. That’s been the criteria all year long, training form.

“His training form went through the roof and you saw that then in the last few games.”

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Paul Keane

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