Keane: ‘I wouldn’t say it’s an opportunity missed. We’re not looking at the glass half-empty’

LEAVING CROKE PARK yesterday, there were two main schools of thought regarding Kerry. 

The first being that they showed they’re a match for Dublin, matched up well defensively and should benefit hugely from knowing they can hang with the champions. The second and more pervasive notion is that Kerry let their big chance slip yesterday. 

Peter Keane’s team greatly restricted the influence of Brian Fenton, Ciaran Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan and Paul Mannion on the proceedings. All four are unlikely to be as quiet the next day out. They played against 14 men for the entire second-half and their substitutes – particularly Killian Spillane and Tommy Walsh – had a huge impact but still Kerry failed to win.

Dublin learned a great deal from the drawn final in 2016 when they seriously underperformed and defeated Mayo with their second chance. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s an opportunity missed. At the end of the day, we weren’t in an All-Ireland final since 2015,” said Keane afterwards.

“You’ve a young team. What are they going to get only experience out of the game. In terms of a learning curve, I said all year we’re on a crash course with that and this is only helping it.

“I suppose if you’re looking at the glass half-empty you could think like that but we’re not looking at the glass half-empty. You’re creating chances and if you’re creating chances another one will come. Keep rattling away and something will come out of it.

“We could have lost it. I suppose Dublin will probably feel the same. Look,it’s like any draw, you take it and you go away and prepare for the next day.”

Kerry were viewed as rank outsiders heading into this game but their manager said that didn’t provide them with extra motivation.

“While ye might read a lot into yourselves, we wouldn’t read a lot into what ye’re thinking. We wouldn’t put a whole pile of emphasis on that. We’re just thinking about ourselves.

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“Did we think we had a hand coming here today? Sure of course. If you’ve two dogs in any race, one of the dogs might get a heart attack and the other fella will walk home. You’ve a chance every time you’re out there.

“Some guys think about this using motivation but look, at the end of the day, it’s a Kerry team, you’re a Kerry player, you’re kicking ball against the gable of a wall since you’re knee high.

“You want to play on a day like this, you feel you’re born for this, to get up to Croke Park. Like I said, we hadn’t been here since 2015 so you want to be here on these days and we’ll get a second bite at it. Jaysus, it’d be a lot worse to be going out of here having lost, wouldn’t it?”

Favourites have a habit of coming out on top in replays and Keane accepted the fact the Leinster kingpins will be expected by most to prevail on Saturday week.

“Sure of course they will. At the end of the day, they’ve won four All-Irelands on the bounce, were they going for seven in the last nine years today?

“They didn’t get those All-Irelands in a lucky bag. They’re a serious team. We’ll go away and have a cut at it again.

The Kerry boss has yet to lose a championship game with Kerry and his unbeaten run across minor and senior now stretches to an incredible 25 games. He danced around a question about James O’Donoghue’s availability for the replay in a typical Keane manner.

“Well we’ll go back now. What day is today? Sunday. We’ll either be training Tuesday or Wednesday so everybody’s finger is into it again.”

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