Quirke wants final to be played week after league finishes
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