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Kerry boss hails O'Shea - 'That has to be one of the best pressure kicks we've seen here'

A magnificent pointed free settled today’s clash between Kerry and Dublin.

Jack O'Connor celebrates after the game with Sean O'Shea.
Jack O'Connor celebrates after the game with Sean O'Shea.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Jul 10th 2022, 8:48 PM

JACK O’CONNOR HEAPED praise upon match-winner Seán O’Shea after his magnificent pointed free settled today’s All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park.

O’Shea nailed the kick into Hill 16 to send Kerry past Dublin with the Kingdom manager scarcely believing the Kenmare man had found his range.

“Personally, from the line, I didn’t think it was kickable to be honest with you, straight up. I didn’t think a man could get the distance because Seanie Shea had emptied the tank.

“He had given a ferocious performance up to then. To have the resilience and the strength and more importantly the technique to kick that with the in step and just glide it in from the right hand past, into the breeze and into the hill.

“So that has to be one of the best pressure kicks we’ve seen here, and we’ve seen a lot of kicks, that I’ve seen here in Croke Park in a long, long time. I don’t think the penalty affected him because he was playing very, very well. He had a great start in that game. He had kicked 1-2 before he missed the penalty. Seanie is a resilient character, that was never going to affect him.

“But like, that last kick there’s very few players in the country…you go back to the Maurice Fitzs and the Bryan Sheehan’s of this world to kick like that, but particularly the last kick and the amount that he had given in the game.”

O’Connor felt his team were resilient in a heart-stopping finale.

“It was a good test of the heart anyway. The old ticker was going fairly fast near the end, It felt on the line that it was a fantastic game, a great battle. Dublin threw everything at us like the great team they are and their big players came to the fore in the last 15 minutes.

“Just delighted with our fellas, with the resilience they showed. That game was going against us. I think the absolute key to it was in the last 10 minutes, when Dublin were pressing our kick-outs Shane Ryan got off all our kick-outs. I think that was hugely significant. If they turn over one of those kick-outs I thought we were done. Fellas like Brian O Beaglaoich must have shown short for four or five of those kick-outs and more importantly broke out and broke the line and got us moving again.

“We were still creating a bit down the other end, even though we were a bit wasteful. But what a battle, Dublin are a great team. Probably the greatest team of all time so you can imagine how much it took for us to finally get over the line. Tony Griffin has worked an awful lot with the boys on the mental side of the game. Staying resilient, when you get setbacks, just driving on to the next ball or whatever and it took all that focus and resilience to keep going.”

tom-osullivan-and-sean-oshea-celebrate-after-the-game Tom O'Sullivan and Sean O'Shea celebrate after the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Kerry missed a chance to net from a penalty in the first half but O’Connor was unhappy with the delay to taking that kick.

“There was a bit of pressure on Seanie for that kick because the goalie obviously stayed down for a considerable period of time. This craic that you can lie down and waste three minutes off a black card, that’s ridiculous. To what degree can you exploit that? If that’s the case sure everyone could get players lying down for five minutes and waste half the black card, do you know what I’m saying? Ye’d agree with that? That’s a rule that needs to be tweaked isn’t it?”

After all the injury talk beforehand, David Clifford produced an exhibition of shooting as he bagged 0-6.

“He jarred his ankle and it was swelled after the Mayo game,” revealed O’Connor.

“He basically didn’t train for the following week. But he did a bit last Tuesday. And we did a little bit Thursday, but it was some performance by him considering. He had missed a bit of time before the Mayo game with a calf injury time, so some performance considering the amount of time he had missed.”

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david-clifford-and-goalkeeper-evan-comerford David Clifford and Evan Comerford. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

While Kerry’s joy was understandable at the finish after ending their losing streak at the hands of Dublin, O’Connor is wary of the final challenge ahead that Galway will pose.

“Sure of course it’s significant psychologically but Mayo were in this exact same position last year and I had the feeling that Mayo had made a huge breakthrough but they didn’t get over the line in the final. You have to go the distance. Getting there isn’t enough. That’ll be a big, big incentive for us over the next two weeks to finish the job now. At Christmas this game will be forgotten about if we don’t get over the line in the final.

“It’s an ecstatic dressing room but we’ll have to get the boys down to level ground again. You can imagine the Galway dressing room a couple of weeks ago when they beat Armagh in an epic like. They’ve had a similar enough experience to us. We have to do a lot of work on the boys in the next couple of weeks to convince them that this job isn’t done. This job is far from done.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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