HomeFootballKerry ladies manager Darragh Long says ‘we’re in a good place. We’re...

Kerry ladies manager Darragh Long says ‘we’re in a good place. We’re back in a Munster final, where we wanted to be’

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Long allayed fears that Kerry captain Niamh Carmody’s knee injury she picked up in the second half saying ‘it stiffened up a little bit but she’ll be fine’

Even the sun made a rare but welcome appearance on a day that the Kingdom secured their place in the Munster final. Kerry’s performance was far from vintage, though, but a win over the Rebels is welcome at any time, even if the reigning champions did put out a largely experimental team against Kerry.

Cork did that with the intention of keeping their cards close to their chests ahead of a possible rematch in the final on May 18. What they hadn’t banked on was that Tipperary would turn over Waterford in the other round 2 encounter. This means that the winner of the round 3 match between Cork and Tipperary will meet Kerry in the final.

All of this renders Kerry’s upcoming round 3 game against Waterford as a bit of a dead duck really. What it will do is give Kerry an opportunity to give some panel players more game time whilst keeping established stars fresh.

“We’re in a good place. We’re back in a Munster final. That’s where we wanted to be, and it gives us another opportunity to bring silverware back to Kerry,” said joint-manager Darragh Long straight after the game.

“Next week [against Waterford] is a game where we can give girls who probably deserve a lot more game time than we can give them at the moment, and they’ll get starts.”

The unfortunate sight of Kerry captain Niamh Carmody being carried off the field in the second half with what appeared to be a knee injury is a worry for Kerry ahead of the Munster Final although Long was happy to report that the injury doesn’t appear to be as serious as first feared.

“I think Niamh is fine. It stiffened up a little bit, but she’ll be fine. She has three weeks to get her knee right. Carmo is crucial to us. She brings a whole lot of energy to us around the field, and she has a cool head when everything else around her is a bit mad. She’ll be fine.

“The Munster championship is difficult in that it is week in and week out. There’s very little time for recovery. Based on the results that happened today it gives us an opportunity next week to rest some legs and then have everyone with a clean bill of health for the final.”

There were surprises in the Cork line-up named midweek when front line players like Ellie Jack, Libby Coppinger and Hannah Looney weren’t named to start. Then, before a ball was thrown in, Cork made four further changes with Maire O’Callaghan, Laura O’Mahony, Katie Quirke and Leah Hallihan dropping to the bench. Long said that he was well aware with what Cork’s intentions were.

Anna Galvin in action for Kerry against Cork in the Munster SFC in Brosna. Photo by John Reidy

“We’re under no illusions what happened here today,” insisted Long.

“There’s a lot of girls that should have been starting and they were on the bench and I’m sure that will write Shane’s [Ronayne, Cork manager] narrative for him. That’s fine. We’ll keep building away with the girls in the team we have.

“The Cork system has changed an awful lot since we played them at the start of the league. It’s pretty defensive stuff and then transition up the field. They’ve some exceptional players and Katie Quirke to come back into that. Dara Kiniry was really good today. Hannah Looney coming on, Libby Coppinger coming on.”

A bit of frustration was evident on Long’s face when he spoke of his own side’s performance. Kerry had secured a good win but were far from flawless with Cork punching holes in the Kerry rearguard when they ran at them. At the other end Kerry’s final approach work once again left them down.

“The performance wasn’t great, but we’ll take it”, he said. “Slow to start again. We got a crucial goal by Louise [Ní Mhuircheartaigh] at the end of the first half to kind of give us a kick up the backside. And then in the second half I thought that we’d loads of chances, but our finishing was poor,” he said.

Poor finishing and decision making has been something that the Kerry management have been pointing to over the last number of games. Long went on to give an example of what he was alluding to.

“Hannah [O’Donoghue] came on and had a massive burst for forty or fifty yards but she was like a Duracell bunny then trying to kick the ball. You have to calm down a little bit. We got ourselves into great positions but just didn’t convert.”

On the other hand, he also pointed to some of the more positive aspects of the Kerry performance, including that of a revitalised Danielle O’Leary.

“One thing I asked Danielle [O’Leary] to be at the start of the year was to be consistent. Last year she was probably a bit up and down with performances; when she’s good she’s good, when she’s down she’s pretty bad,” explained Long.

“The last two weeks have been super consistent for her with her kicking. She’s working very hard on it, and she kicked a brilliant free near the end to get us the cushion of four points.

“Anna Galvin was immense in the second half. She showed for every short kick out and she carried some brilliant ball as well. Eilis Lynch is an All Star corner back and the best in the business for me. What a footballer Aishling O’Connell has turned into.

“We want our leaders to step up the whole time and those particular girls certainly did.”

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