Eamonn Fitzmaurice claims 'lack of balance' towards his players

The Kerry manager was responding to comments made regarding Kerry's physical approach.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice claims 'lack of balance' towards his players

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Eamonn Fitzmaurice says there is 'a lack of balance' towards his players when it comes to the comparisons between the Kerry and Dublin footballers.

Former Dublin player Paul Curran wrote that Fitzmaurice's charges should be 'ashamed' of their style of play in his column in the Herald. Meanwhile, Dublin defender Philly McMahon also made comments suggesting that Kerry are choosing to play a physical game in order to get the better of them.

The two sides are due to face off in the Allianz National League Division 1 final this Sunday in Croke Park.

The Kerry boss has since responded to those claims, and suggested that the narrative surrounding the Dublin-Kerry rivalry is unbalanced. And speaking at a top table press conference, Fitzmaurice said he felt obligated to issue a response, 'out of duty' to his players.'

"I had a think about this today because normally, I just kick for touch with those kind of things whatever you want to call it mind games or whatever I just don't believe in it.

"I believe there's a game to be played and you trust the referee to get it right but I do find it a bit worrying to be honest that there is a narrative out there at the moment and I don't think it's balanced at all.

He added:

"I think supporters of their own team are going to have (their views). The Dublin supporters are going to have blue tinted glasses and the Kerry supporters are going to have green and gold tinted glasses and that's the way it is. I just think there's a complete lack of balance there at the moment.

 Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

"I think that the Dublin team are a serious team that we have the utmost respect for. They're a fantastic footballing team, an attacking footballing team with brilliant players and an outstanding manager but make no mistake, they've a hard edge about them, and a seriously hard edge.

He went on to explain that winning teams require a certain edge in their playing style in order to succeed, and cited the example set by All-Ireland winning sides Tyrone, Kerry and the Kilkenny hurlers.

"And Dublin have (an edge) as well. Going back to 2011, when Declan O'Sullivan was taken out of it. Going back to the 2013 All-Ireland final, when they were basically a man down for the last 5 minutes and they had to tactically foul to see it out. Going back to the end of All-Ireland semi-final last year, when one of our players was wrestled to the ground and basically choked."

Fitzmaurice insisted that his side have an edge to their play as well, and stressed that he has 'never tried to paint us as being whiter than white.'

Image: Dublin and Kerry players clash during their first Division 1 meeting earlier this year.

But he added that he felt he needed to speak out on the matter, 'so that we were going in the weekend on a level playing pitch, because my worry was that it was developing into a situation like the All-Ireland final replay last year where there was an orchestrated campaign against Lee Keegan that was effective for the All-Ireland final replay.'

"Normally, like I said, I wouldn't open my mouth about things like that. But, I feel out of my duty to the players I had to address it this evening. I had to see there's a complete lack of balance - even within our own county - there's a lack of balance. And I just think it's unfair on our players."

Audio provided by Radio Kerry.