Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Across the water
Kerry kept Harlequins camp quiet to avoid 'circus' and now have 9 U21s in senior squad
The Kingdom face Clare next Sunday.

KERRY DID NOT disclose the location of their training camp last week at English Premiership Rugby outfit Harlequins, in order to avoid the event turning into ‘a circus’.

Kerry players warm down in front of their supporters Cathal Noonan / INPHO Kerry players warming down after April's league game against Cork Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

In recent years Kerry have frequently trained at the Amendoeira Golf Resort in Portugal but opted to change it up this year as they get set for next Sunday’s Munster semi-final against Clare.

“I just felt we needed to freshen it up,” revealed manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

“We had been to that particular venue in Portugal, if we had went there it would have been the sixth time for some of the lads over the last six or seven years.

“We just felt we needed to change it up. I kept it tight because it is a pre-championship training camp in a public facility and I just wanted it to be private.

“I changed it and I wasn’t asked were we or weren’t we going to Portugal. I said we were doing a training camp alright, but I didn’t say where we were going.

“I just kept it tight from that point of view. There is a big Irish community over in England and I didn’t want it to turn into a circus.”

“We were delighted with it. It was a good camp. We needed to get together and get that quality training done.”

Midfielder Anthony Maher has returned to the Kerry squad after a seven-month layoff but James O’Donoghue, Johnny Buckley, Brendan O’Sullivan and Denis Daly will all be marked absent.

James O’Donoghue Cathal Noonan / INPHO James O'Donoghue has been out through injury since last year's All-Ireland final. Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Kerry have freshened up their squad since the league concluded with nine U21 players now part of their setup.

Dingle trio Barry O’Sullivan, Tom O’Sullivan and Mark O’Connor, the An Ghaeltact defender Brian Begley and Templenoe forward Killian Spillane have all been drafted in.

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Mark O'Connor lifts the cup Donall Farmer / INPHO Mark O'Connor captained Kerry to last year's All-Ireland minor football win. Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue) and Michael Burns (Dr Crokes) are also part of it but they are currently carrying injuries while Gavin White (Dr Crokes) and Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil) are focused on their Leaving Cert exams at present.

Tadhg Morley and Gavin Crowley have also been called up. That pair won All-Ireland junior football club medals earlier this year with Templenoe and All-Ireland junior medals with Kerry last August.

“We are happy with the quality of the squad,” remarked Fitzmaurice.

“There has been change, absolutely. We knew that was coming, the lads knew that themselves and they knew they were competing for championship slots throughout the league.”

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