Eamonn Fitzmaurice: 'It was some battle'
By Cian O'Connell
"It was some battle," Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice acknowledged.
Despite the wretched weather conditions Kerry and Mayo delivered the latest chapter in a story rich with All Ireland series drama.
This Semi-Final didn't disappoint according to Fitzmaurice. "Both sets of players deserve massive credit for the way that they went at it today, particularly with the conditions the way they were," Fitzmaurice stated.
“I think both teams will have regrets, that they could have possibly have won the game, and at the same time be relieved that they’re not going to be out of the Championship as well – typical draw, really."
It started in a welter of excitement with Andy Moran planting a goal and Aidan O'Shea marking Kieran Donaghy. Was Fitzmaurice surprised by that switch? “It was a thing we had discussed, there was a possibility it could happen, that they could match him up with Kieran.
"We felt maybe it would be down the list of possible options, but it was something we had discussed.
“Look, obviously it’s up to Mayo to get their match-ups right and for them to organise those – that’s not something we can control."
Was Fitzmaurice content that O'Shea wasn't involved further up the field? “I suppose, I haven’t really thought about that side of it yet," Fitzmaurice remarked. "But with a player like that, if you give them a big job like that to do, it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul – he obviously can’t be in two places at once.
"From a Mayo point of view, they’d be happy once he does the role that is assigned to him for the day."
Fitzmaurice was adamant that it didn't alter the type of deliveries Kerry wanted to drill inside. “No, I don’t think so," Fitzmaurice commented. "To be fair to Mayo, they were very intense in the middle third, as they do, they tackled ferociously and worked really hard.
"I think conditions helped that. It was hard for our kickers to get their head up and get the ball in as we would have liked, but that’s something for us to work on for next week now."