Kerry fell to Dublin by 12 points yesterday in Croke Park, as the Kingdom now face a scrap to maintain their Division 1 status for 2019. Kerry are now out of contention in terms of reaching the final, as they sit in sixth position with two wins after five games.
While Kerry still have players to come back into the fold, it was a harrowing experience for the reigning champions, as the Dubs utterly dominated in the second half to score a comprehensive win.
Speaking after the game, manager Éamonn Fitzmaurice didn’t beat around the bush.
“As Dublin do to you, they really punish your mistakes.
“We just have to learn from it, we just have to move on. It was a pretty chastening experience for all of us.
“If you’re going to beat Dublin in Croke Park, you have to do pretty much everything right. We didn’t today.”
While the full-time score did make for bleak reading, Fitzmaurice is adamant that the experience will stand to his young team.
“I’m not one bit worried about the lads. They’ve seen up close and personal how good this Dublin team are. How well drilled they are, how ruthless they are.
“That’s good learning. You can be training as much as you want, and be trying to replicate that in training as much as you want, but it’s a steep learning curve.”
Two wins from five games leaves the Kingdom in a spot of bother. The fact that Cork were relegated from Division 1 two years ago despite picking up three wins is an indication of just how competitive the top tier can be. Their final two games come at home against Kildare and away to Tyrone. At least one win is essential if they are to maintain their Division 1 status.
“We have to improve for next weekend, which becomes more or less a championship game for us now.
“We’ve to focus on next weekend and try to get a result at home. Make sure that we’re in Division 1 again next year, because next year’s squad will be a very young squad as well, and you want the lads exposed to days like this, and the opposition [being] the likes of Dublin.”