It's not uncommon for managers to look for positives from a defeat and that's the route that Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice went down after watching his side lose narrowly to Monaghan, in what were testing conditions in Inniskeen.

The Farney prevailed by two points, despite being reduced to 14 men late on in Sunday's Allianz FL Divsion 1 clash.

Both counties stand on four points and are still well in the hunt to make the league final on Easter Sunday.

Speaking afterwards to RTÉ Sport, the Kerry boss felt the Ulster side handled the underfoot conditions better, but crucially felt his troops will benefit when saying: "The conditions were tough. A more mature, experienced Monaghan handled the conditions that bit better. That said, it was good learning for our lads."

Monaghan just about deserved the win on the balance of play, dominating the entire first-half and coming good late on when the need was greatest.

They lead by six at the break, helped by Conor McManus' converted penalty. Kerry, to their credit, rallied strongly in the second period and cut the deficit to a point with entering the final minutes. However, late Monaghan points from Neil McAdam McManus saw them prevail.

For Fitzmaurice, it was a case of his side mixing the good and the bad.

"We played poorly, particularly in the first half, made too many mistakes and Monaghan punished those mistakes," he added.

At half-time, we just had to improve and do the simple things a lot better. In fairness the lads did that in the second half and perhaps we were bit unlucky not to get something out of the game.

David Clifford was introduced in the second-half ans showed no ill effects of the hamstring strain he picked up in the win over Mayo a fortnight ago. He kicked three points, with his manager stating he is hungry for action.

"He has no injury problems. He wouldn't be on the field if he had any issue. He had a mild issue in Mayo that has been well rehabilitated and sorted out.

"He' s in good form and is looking for plenty of game time."

Next up for Kerry is a date with Galway in Tralee next weekend and then Dubs at Croke Park a week later.

"We have two big challenges coming up against a Galway side who are three from three and then the Dubs," said Fitzmaurice.

"It's still all to play for and it's bunched up a good bit now in the middle of the table.

"They'll be plenty of points taken off teams between now and the end of the league." 

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