Kerry Gaelic football team faces relegation after loss

Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice has warned his team they need to win three of their remaining four games if they are to avoid relegation from Division One of the National Football League.

Fitzmaurice’s side suffered a third straight defeat as Kildare maintained their 100 percent record in Newbridge on Sunday with a 2-8 to 0-12 win.

All-Ireland champions Donegal are next for the Kingdom, and Fitzmaurice admitted after Sunday’s game that time is running out for his struggling side.

“Six points would probably keep you up, but we’re on zero. I think all the teams are going to take points off each other, so it’s going to be very competitive,” he said.

“We have to start getting points on the board or else it is going to be a foregone conclusion that we’re going down. We don’t want to go that direction.”

Kerry hit 16 wides on Sunday, and Fitzmaurice acknowledged that is a huge problem for his team at present as he saw some signs of improvement against Kildare.

“Even if we had got a quarter of them, we’d have got over the line,” he said.

“We’d be pleased with the second half display. When Kildare got the second goal we went six points down and it was kind of déjà vu. Were the lads going to go into their shells, were they just going to accept it?

“But they didn’t, and they showed good stuff and came back. We were probably slightly unlucky in the end. We had a couple of goal chances that on another day would have gone in.”

Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy is also refusing to hit the panic button after a third straight league defeat as they prepare for Sunday’s crunch game in Donegal.

“We were looking for a bit of reaction in Kildare after how the first two games went. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the two points against Kildare but we’ll look at the positives,” he said.

“There’s still a lot to work on but we got a bit of a reaction which was encouraging. We were making some basic errors. There was no rocket science whit what we were doing and what we weren’t doing.”

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney knows the big test will come when they face Dublin and a rampant Bernard Brogan in the big NFL tie at Croke Park on Sunday.

“It will be hard to beat them, they are flying at the minute. Bernard Brogan seems to be unstoppable and, at Croke Park as well, they will enjoy that too,” said McGeeney.
Brogan Stars in Dublin Win

DUBLIN boss Jim Gavin worked hard to deflect the attention away from star man Bernard Brogan after he destroyed Mayo with a 1-10 total in Saturday night’s 2-14 to 0-16 win at Croke Park.

Gavin said, “He’s finishing well but behind him a lot of the hard work is being done. The backs are transferring the ball quickly to him, he’s got into good positions. It was good to see Bernard finishing the scores.”

Mayo boss James Horan agreed with Gavin. “Ger Cafferky was on him and didn’t do a whole pile wrong.

“When you give the guys kicking in the ball, particularly in the first half, the amount of time that they had, yourself could put in a pass and he’s going to score it so that’s where it came from.”

Dublin were reduced to 14 men again when Ger Brennan received a straight red-card in the 42nd minute following a clash with Michael Conroy and Donal Vaughan.

“I haven’t been told what he was sent off for. The bit I saw was their six coming in after with high hands and then their 14 coming into Ger,” Gavin said.
McGuinness Won’t Fret Loss

ALL-Ireland champions Donegal suffered another NFL defeat when they went down to Tyrone on Sunday by a score of 1-13 to 0-12, but manager Jim McGuinness has insisted he will continue to experiment in the league.

With Tyrone due to play his team again in the championship in May, McGuinness insisted his focus is on the summer ahead.

He said, “We tried Ross Wherithy out again today, and we were happy with his performance, we tried Mark McHugh at wing-back, and we tried Neil Gallagher at full-forward.

“We use the league as a vehicle to look at things like that, and they were all kind of positives. We just want to try and progress and go forward week on week.”

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte said the win over Donegal will be significant ahead of their championship clash.

“If you keep losing to somebody, you might get an inferiority complex and that wouldn’t be good for anybody, so it was important that we’d win for sure and probably more important for us to win than Donegal.

“I think they can handle the defeat better than we could today and I’m sure they will be better prepared in May because they’ll have more put in.”

Tyrone officials are to launch an investigation after Donegal’s Karl Lacey was spat on by a supporter.

Tyrone chairman Ciaran McLaughlin said, “We apologized to the Donegal team over an incident which occurred at the end of the match. Tyrone will carry out their own investigation into this.”

Late Score Seals Cork Win

CORK boss Conor Counihan singled out midfielder Aidan Walsh for praise after a smash and grab raid in Newry saw a late Ciaran Sheehan goal secure a 3-12 to 1-17 victory for his team over Down.

Counihan said, “You would have to say that we rode our luck a bit there and if I was Down I would be gutted altogether.

“But, look, we kept ploughing away at it and Aidan Walsh won a ball that he had no right to win on the wing there at the end to set it up. You need fellas like that to step up at those times.

“We were extremely fortunate that he did. He stood up there and kicked points from play and from frees and that is the Aidan of old that we haven’t seen in the last few weeks.

“Thankfully, he is back in that now and other fellas need to get back on track too.”
GAA Won’t Split Dublin

PRESIDENT Liam O’Neill has denied that the GAA will split Dublin into two separate entities, north and south, despite recent media reports.

O’Neill said, “At underage level Dublin might feel it is of more benefit to field more than one team. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not something that’s going to be forced on them. I certainly have no appetite for it.

“If Dublin feel at underage level that it’s going to be of benefit to them I am sure that Leinster Council would be more than willing to accommodate them.

“That could be done and it’s probably in that context that it should be looked at. If it worked at underage level it could grow naturally.

“It cannot be done without the cooperation of Dublin. It can only be done, to the advantage of the organization, when Dublin feel ready for that.”
Munster Bests Connacht

MUNSTER boss Liam Sheedy says his players were delighted with their interprovincial medals after beating Connacht in Sunday’s final in Ennis.

Sheedy said, “It’s a difficult competition when you’re only together three times, and one of those was a match. But everyone we contacted had no problem coming along.

“We had a good game, a lovely day, the pitch was in good condition, and certainly from the time we had the players they were nothing but professional.

“We’re delighted with it, absolutely. It’s a national competition, a national medal and the players cherish it.”

Seanie Johnston of Kildare celebrates his opening goal against Kerry.Sportsfile