Quirke wants fi­nal to be played week af­ter league fin­ishes

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - BY JA­SON O’CON­NOR

FOR a team with only one com­pet­i­tive match since they were beaten in the County semi-fi­nal by Sun­day’s op­po­si­tion it was quite an im­pres­sive show­ing as Micheal Quirke agreed that so much of Strand Road’s sea­son has been de­fined by their en­coun­ters with Dr Crokes this year.

“That was a mas­sive per­for­mance to­day from a team that has been very in­ac­tive over the last six or eight weeks. The last thing we needed was ex­tra-time though be­cause that was al­ways some­thing, they were al­ways go­ing to be bet­ter able for with the sched­ule they have had,” the Kerins O’Rahillys boss said.

Quirke said he would look back on the mid­dle part of their los­ing en­coun­ters with the Kil­lar­ney side this year as be­ing where they lost out in the busi­ness end this year.

“We were prob­a­bly one of the most com­pet­i­tive teams against them this year which is some­thing we re­ally want to build on go­ing for­ward. We needed the start we got to­day but they re­ally showed the poise they have through­out their team even when they had only 14 men for the most part,” he said.

The Strand Road boss agreed that the mer­its of a League Fi­nal are flawed in some re­spects. “I would ques­tion the rel­e­vance of play­ing this match nearly four months since we played our last League game. If there is to be a fi­nal for this then it should be the week af­ter to keep up the in­ter­est in it. We want com­pet­i­tive games against teams like Crokes, but this time of year is not the time for them,” Quirke be­lieves.

A short break now be­fore it all kicks off again for Strand Road in the New Year. “We started on Jan­uary 1st this year and are only fin­ished to­day. It’s hard to keep up that level with­out a proper break but we will be anx­ious to hold on to what we have in terms of play­ers be­cause there isn’t a huge amount com­ing up at the mo­ment for us.” OPENLY agree­ing ex­pe­ri­ences like last Sun­day can bring a side back down to earth very quickly af­ter a Mun­ster suc­cess the week be­fore, Crokes se­lec­tor Niall ‘Botty’ O’Cal­laghan ac­knowl­edged the dif­fi­culty Kerins O’Rahillys pre­sented them each time they en­coun­tered them in 2018.

“They gave us some very hard games this year and it shows you the level there is now in Kerry that that you must be ready for a bat­tle all the time re­gard­less of who you are play­ing,” he said.

O’Cal­laghan felt it said a lot about the char­ac­ter of the team that they per­formed so well for the most part of nor­mal time with 14 men.

“To get into the po­si­tion where we could win was a great tes­ta­ment to them. Yes, we wouldn’t be happy it ended up go­ing to ex­tra-time af­ter, but the main thing is that we know where it went wrong in that hap­pen­ing but any­time you win with things to work on af­ter is a good day. I thought we were bril­liant in the first pe­riod of ex­tra-time in tak­ing back con­trol of the game,” the Crokes se­lec­tor said.

With mat­ters con­cluded in both county and prov­ince for the club, now the fo­cus turns to district mat­ters and the play­ing of their open­ing O’Donoghue Cup match in East Kerry against Fossa Thurs­day) un­der lights in Rath­more. O’Cal­laghan says that the club will have to ro­tate in terms of line-up, but it is still a com­pe­ti­tion they are very much seek­ing to win.

“Go­ing to ex­tra-time didn’t help in re­la­tion to the Fossa game. We will have to put out a lot of our younger play­ers, but we will give Fossa the re­spect they de­serve at the same time. The O’Donoghue Cup is some­thing we want to try and win and give it our best, but our only fo­cus is on play­ing them at the mo­ment and not what the sched­ule might be if we win.”

Gavin White, Dr Crokes, feels the chal­lenge of Dar­ragh McEl­lig­ott, Kerins O’Rahillys, in the County SFL Divi­sion One fi­nal

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