Peter Keane was his usual coy self as he addressed the media following Kerry’s entertaining draw with Dublin in the opening round of the Allianz Football League.
The Kerry boss settled into his chair and was immediately pressed on whether it was a point gained or a point dropped for the Kingdom in Croke Park.
“I suppose we could look at it that way, Dublin could look at it that way, but look it’s a point and we’ll take it and head for home now.”
Full-time: Dublin 1-19 | 1-19 Kerry.— eir Sport (@eirSport) January 25, 2020
Draw game!!! Pressure, does David Clifford feel it? No!
What a game at GAA HQ & what an opening night in the #AllianzLeagues.#MatchNightLive #DUBvKER pic.twitter.com/uQsXkIXAAn
In what was a frenetic game from start to finish, Kerry would be right to feel aggrieved coming away with just a point considering they were better for much of the second half and held a three-point lead after an hour of football.
Keane admitted it was important not to lose but claimed it wouldn’t have been crazy if Kerry had. Despite the wonderful action supporters were treated too, the Cahirciveen man took Saturday’s clash for what it was, a January league game.
“Erra it was (important not to lose)….look, you could say that but sure look had we won I wouldn’t have been jumping out of my skin in here and had we lost I wouldn’t have been crying.
“You know, it’s a league game in January. It’s your first league game, we haven’t a whole pile of work done, we’ve about two and a half weeks of work done, which is similar to what Dublin have done.
“They’re probably at a bigger advantage because they’re on the go for many, many years and they’re very used to what they’re doing but it wouldn’t have been crazy had we lost the game.”
Fans were treated to a great display of attacking football in a first half that saw 14 of the 21 scores come from open play. The second half saw just as many scores, however, there were a couple of flashpoints and two red cards were handed out to Eric Lowndes and Seán O’Shea.
57: Red Card!!!— eir Sport (@eirSport) January 25, 2020
Eric Lowndes picks up a yellow, after an earlier black, for a challenge on Stephen O'Brien and Dublin are down to 14.
LIVE now on eir sport 1! #AllianzLeagues #MatchNightLive pic.twitter.com/NRVm5cxkwH
Keane was surprised to hear that 14 cards in total were handed out claiming the game didn’t feel in any way dirty.
“What was the score at half-time? (1-10 to 1-9). 1-10 to 1-9, so that’s 11 scores versus 10 scores, I suppose you had the same amount of scores in the second-half then hadn’t you?
“Even though you’re right, it did feel like a bit tighter but sure you had the same amount of scoring opportunities.
“Was there? (14 cards) It didn’t feel dirty, it didn’t seem dirty to me anyway.
“Sure I suppose look, it’s going to take a bit of getting used to for everyone, and for referees as well. Again, when you just tell me that… I didn’t realise there were 14 cards, it certainly didn’t seem like a dirty game to me anyway.
David Clifford will take the headlines home after excelling on his opening day as captain. The 21-year-old struck 1-1 from play in the first half before converting a pressure-free with the final kick of the game to take home a share of the spoils.
However, another man who stood out for the Kingdom was former Footballer of the Year James O’Donoghue who kicked three first-half points from play.
On the topic of Clifford, Keane simply claimed he did what was expected of him. However, he was more forthcoming on O’Donoghue and the road he had travelled to get to Croke Park on Saturday evening.
“Yeah, but sure you’d have expected that of David Clifford, whether he was going to be captain or, eh, nothing. He did what he was asked to do.
“Well take James last year, James had a few injuries earlier on in the league and we were doing our best to get him back. He played very well against Clare in the opening round of the Championship.
“About 40 or 45 minutes (in) the hamstring went on him and it effectively ruined his year. Whereas up to that he had been going very, very well in the April, May period heading into that game. So that was a big setback for him because we were expecting a big year out of him last year.
“And he has done very well in the last few weeks. He had the benefit too of not killing himself last year because of the injury, went in fresh to the O’Donoghue Cup which Legion won after so many years and that was a big thing for him. And he’s carried and taken that through.”
.@Kerry_Official manager, Peter Keane, was pleased with the performance of James O'Donoghue in tonight's entertaining Allianz Football League draw with @DubGAAOfficial #GAA #TheToughest pic.twitter.com/J35VrCV5cj— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 25, 2020
At the end of it all, they could have won it but they could easily have lost it. Keane brought the curtain down on the interview in the same way in which it started, by claiming they’ll happily take their point and head for the road home.
“Yerra, Peter Keane is getting ready to go home, the same way he’d have to go home either which way, whether we won or lost.
“Alright lads, sound out.”