Peter Keane’s third year at the helm has come to an end, with Kerry rueing what might have been once more.
The Kingdom were installed as bookmakers’ favourites for the All-Ireland title following their Munster final demolition of Cork, at a stage when the seven-in-a-row chasing Dublin were still in the competition.
However, they were left to wait five weeks for their All-Ireland semi-final date with Tyrone, after the game was postponed twice due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Red Hands’ panel.
- Tyrone stun Kerry after extra-time to reach All-Ireland final
So how much did the disruption impact their preparations?
“You have your plans done around initially three weeks, then it was four weeks, then it was five weeks. It was difficult,” Keane said.
“You were trying to get ready. It’s difficult. You’re wondering, are you at the pace? Are you not at the pace? And you’re doing the training. Into the third week, we were easing up on training. In the fourth week, we had to do the same. But that’s not offering excuses here today. We congratulate Tyrone and we wish them well in the final.”
And he was adamant that they did not underestimate the Ulster champions, amidst speculation that their players would be lacking fitness.
“We expected these [Tyrone] fellas to be at 100% and with a full squad,” he outlined.
“We had hopes to get to the final and we didn’t. That’s life.”
Kerry are now facing into another winter of regret.
“It was a quiet dressing room,” Keane noted. “Fellas are very disappointed. Obviously we came here today with an ambition of getting to a final and that’s eluded us. So there’s a lot of disappointment.
“Obviously one of the things we had been doing a lot throughout the year has been scoring goals. I think we’d four opportunities today, didn’t come home with anything. You look at Tyrone, I think they’d three goal opportunities and came away with three. Is therein the problem? I think we had 33 shots at the post and we got 22 points.”
Another setback was the injury to David Clifford, who was unable to play any part in the extra-time.
“Of course, in the game itself had he got 0-8, we’d 0-17 got,” Keane said.
“Seanie [O’Shea] had eight. Obviously, you don’t want to be losing any player who has that capability in front of the post.”
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