Senior Kerry footballers have paid tribute to the younger members of the squad who stepped up to the plate to help the Kingdom to another All-Ireland final.
While experienced players such as Kieran Donaghy, David Moran, Aidan O’Mahony and James O’Donoghue formed the pillar of the victory over Mayo, younger panel members such as Pa Kilkenny, Kieran O’Leary, Paul Geaney and Jonathan Lyne, who scored two extra-time points, were vital to the victory and the drawn game a week ago, according to quadruple All-Ireland winner O'Mahony.
The Rathmore man told RTÉ Sport: “I suppose we’ve a lot of young players after coming through this year. Eamonn [Fitzmaurice is] after bringing those players in and they were fantastic. They were fantastic the last day.
“We were dead and buried with nearly seven minutes to go last week, they brought us back into the game, and there was a few times you could say we were gone, and those young lads came on in extra-time and they stood up again.”
Manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was in agreement: “I’m delighted with the games. Especially when you’ve a young squad with a lot of lads getting experience of that intensity, and that level of mental fortitude that was shown was fantastic and it’s only good for the lads," he said.
These views were echoed by midfielder David Moran, who was unlucky to miss out on the man of the match award.
“Maybe our bench that came on was a little bit stronger than what they brought on but it was so close,” he said.