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Jack O'Connor: 'Our backs were to the wall, Kerry haven't been winning these type of games'

The Kerry boss saw his team pick up a fourth league win of the campaign last night.

Kerry's Brian Ó Beaglaoich and Mayo's Padraig O'Hora.
Kerry's Brian Ó Beaglaoich and Mayo's Padraig O'Hora.
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

KERRY’S FOURTH WIN of the 2022 league arrived at a sodden Austin Stack Park last night and it was the one that left Jack O’Connor most satisfied.

That was down to the manner in which it was achieved.

Prevailing by a point against Mayo in an arm-wrestle played in aquatic conditions, was a boost for Kerry and the type of victory O’Connor had been targeting.

“This was the kind of game we were hoping we’d win. A game in which our backs were to the wall, fellas are tested as Kerry haven’t been winning these type of games.

“Look lads a one point win against a gale of wind with the momentum all with Mayo in the last ten minutes you’d have to be very happy.”

“This was a very different test to the games we have played against the Donegals and the Monaghans. This was very different. There was fierce pace in this game for the month of March and Mayo gave us bagfuls there. It was great to be able to stand up to that.

“We haven’t a huge amount of training done. Just bits and pieces. Great that the lads have the resilience to stand up to that. We wanted the league to test out a few things, play against different systems.”

Kerry began the game without two prized attacking assets Sean O’Shea and Paul Geaney, the latter a late withdrawal.

“We were just going to rotate them this week and play Paul, but he pulled out with a bit of illness this morning,” said O’Connor.

“It’s not a bad injury, he (Sean O’Shea) just got a dislocated big toe or something last week, something of that nature. He shouldn’t be too bad.”

Geaney’s replacement Tony Brosnan caught the eye as he scored 1-2 from play.

“Tony has been buzzing really. He played very well above in Monaghan. Tony got his chance again and really took it, so delighted with Tony.”

Kerry handed a debut late on to substitute defender Pa Warren, while nominated team captain Joe O’Connor from the Austin Stacks club, was back in the squad.

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“Joe O’Connor will almost definitely see action next week. He played a club game last night just to get a bit of mileage into the legs. There is a few more of them pretty close. Gavin White is going pretty well and the injured lads are getting closer but it is up to the physios to say when to press the green light.”

jack-oconnor-before-the-game Kerry boss Jack O'Connor before the game. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

The key takeaway for O’Connor was the qualities his team showed to dig out a win after Mayo had hauled them back level.

“But the lads showed great heart, came up the field, showed great foot passing into the inside line by Micheal Burns and we manufactured a good free so, and David put it over. Delighted with the spirit and togetherness of the team. The tackling there was heartwarming near the end.

“We missed a handy old free there in front of the goal lads (in the 55th minute) and we were just saying the sideline, we were hoping that one wasn’t going to cost us. But look overall I’m delighted, I wouldn’t be at all critical of Kerry tonight, it was hard to play football in those conditions and tonight was about attitude and spirit and togetherness, and we showed plenty of that.”

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Austin Stack Park

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