Kerry manager Ciaran Carey paid tribute to his players' resolve after they recorded a surprise victory over Offaly in the counties' Allianz Hurling League meeting today.
The Kingdom beat Offaly by a point, 2-18 to 2-17, to record the second victory of their maiden Division 1B campaign after earlier beating Laois.
"It was a massive win for the boys. They wouldn't be used to playing Offaly and they wouldn't be used to beating Offaly," Carey told RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport. "Psychologically, it was a huge lift for them.
"I said to the lads, and I wouldn't say it lightly, that I'm proud and honoured to go to war with these guys.
"They're very genuine and they've huge heart and soul. That's a super quality in a player and the rest follows
suit when you hurl from the soul."
"The rest follows suit when you hurl from the soul"
Despite the win, Wexford's comeback victory over Laois means Kerry must face the O'Moore men again in a relegation play-off in two weeks' time. Carey was philosophical about narrowly missing out on the quarter-finals however.
"Irrespective of other teams today we had to honour our side of the bargain," he said. "That was to get two points and we achieved that so we're grateful for that.
"It's quite simple now. If we are to remain in 1B we have to go out and beat Laois.
"We made a lot of simple errors again today and it's something we need to look at.
"We were 1-04 down after four minutes. Offaly got about eight points from frees, we handed them two and they got one from a line ball in the first half.
"That was all their points and the first two they got in the second half were from elementary errors again.
"But thankfully they showed serious character to hold out and follow through."
Kerry will take part in this year's Leinster Hurling Championship Qualifier Group with Carlow, Offaly and Westmeath but Carey knows he faces some competition in keeping his high-achieving squad intact.
"There's U21 football going on at present and you've the Kerry footballers.
"At the end of the day, that's the number one sport down there and I certainly wouldn't be putting any pressure
"What we have is what we have. There are two more fellas coming back from injury, Darragh Shanahan and Kevin Hannifin, who will possibly slot into the squad."