Fitz­mau­rice stands over his tac­tics and con­sid­ers his fu­ture

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - THE TITLE - By Micheal Clif­ford

ÉA­MONN Fitz­mau­rice will ‘re­con­sider’ his fu­ture in the com­ing weeks.

With a year still to run on his latest term, the Kerry boss was non-com­mit­tal on whether he will stay on for a sixth year in the af­ter­math of his team’s em­phatic de­feat to Mayo.

While only five points sep­a­rated the teams at the fi­nal whis­tle, the mar­gin could not dis­guise the fu­til­ity of the King­dom’s chase in the sec­ond half, nor Fitz­mau­rice’s dis­ap­point­ment as he pre­sented him­self at the post-match press brief­ing.

‘I haven’t thought about the fu­ture to be hon­est. We were all so zoomed in on to­day, that was our only fo­cus.

‘Any time there’s a loss we’re all go­ing to think now and re-con­sider and see what the best way for­ward for Kerry is, and we’ll do that over the next cou­ple of weeks,’ he said.

If that qual­i­fies for a par for the course re­ply, Fitz­mau­rice is well versed in the Kerry way to know that the post mortem into a third ti­tle­less year will be deep and un­for­giv­ing.

He rolled the dice yes­ter­day with three pre­match changes – the bold­est be­ing the drop­ping of James O’Donoghue to fa­cil­i­tate a sweeper sys­tem to pro­tect a full­back line which had been torched six days ear­lier.

It failed to work here – Mayo’s ag­gres­sion forc­ing Kerry’s hand as they pushed up – be­fore O’Donoghue’s ar­rival at the start of the sec­ond half pro­vided the Kerry at­tack with some teeth.

The 2014 foot­baller of the year kicked three points – two from play – to pro­vide Paul Geaney with the sup­port the Din­gle man had been cry­ing out for.

But it was too lit­tle and, es­pe­cially af­ter Andy Mo­ran had ex­acted a fierce price against a sweep­er­less de­fence with a goal within three min­utes of the restart, too late. Any re­grets, then? ‘I stand over what we did 100 per cent, what we were try­ing to do, it didn’t work to­day but that’s the beauty of man­age­ment – we don’t have the ben­e­fit of hind­sight.

‘Any day you lose a game there are as­pects of your game plan that are go­ing to mal­func­tion and aren’t go­ing to go ac­cord­ing to play. I’m sure peo­ple will be won­der­ing what the hell were we try­ing to do, but the days it goes well then you end up win­ning the game and you look like a ge­nius.

‘And the days you lose, well, you end up look­ing like any­thing but.’

That’s the joys of man­age­ment, but in these an­a­lyt­i­cal times not ev­ery game is de­cided on a white­board.

Kerry might not make peace with that, but be­ing beaten by the bet­ter team is still a so­lace of sorts for those at the los­ing coal­face.

‘Mayo have been out­stand­ing.

‘We didn’t need the last two games to con­firm they are a se­ri­ous out­fit. They have been so close, go­ing back to 2012 in par­tic­u­lar, they’ve been so close ev­ery year.

‘We knew we were go­ing to have to be on top of our game to win the game and we weren’t, so it’s no huge sur­prise that they beat us.

‘I think they are a great bunch, se­ri­ous re­silience and they are no mean foot­ballers ei­ther.

‘They were just op­er­at­ing at a slightly higher level than us. I think the kick-outs in the first half were a big factor – they got on top of our kick-out and won all of their own kick-outs, so they had a lot of pos­ses­sion. We were play­ing a bit of catch up.’

It was a chase that was be­yond them but their cause was not helped by the con­tro­ver­sial black card shown to Dar­ran O’Sul­li­van in the 44th minute, when it ap­peared that Cil­lian O’Con­nor had stepped into the Glen­beigh man’s path and en­gi­neered a body check.

‘I saw that in­ci­dent and he shouldn’t have got a black card, it should have been the other way.

‘What it meant was that we were robbed of his im­pact and we were robbed of a sub­sti­tu­tion, that’s what it meant,’ he added.

‘But look you get these calls and you don’t get these calls, but that was def­i­nitely the wrong call,’ he re­flected rue­fully.

For his op­po­site num­ber, Stephen Rochford it was one of those per­fect days when all has calls were the right ones.

‘We wanted to trust our own game a lot, we felt there were one or two ar­eas we could do bet­ter on, our own kick-out and

turnovers, which we handed the op­por­tu­nity to Kerry to score goals last week. So a lot of the fo­cus was on our­selves this week re­ally. ‘We did well enough to win an All-Ire­land semi­fi­nal. We knew that Kerry were go­ing to come at us re­ally hard. We knew we would have to match that and do bet­ter. I thought we did that. ‘It was re­ally im­por­tant that we didn’t al­low Kerry to get their fast start that they had got in pre­vi­ous Cham­pi­onship games. That al­lowed us take a hold of the game,’ he said.

CLASH: Kieran Don­aghy and Ai­dan O’Shea get in a tan­gle

CATCH UP: Kerry man­ager Éa­monn Fitz­mau­rice

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