Peter Keane cut a relieved figure after watching his Kerry side squeeze past Cork in the Munster final.
Overwhelming favourites coming into the Páirc Uí Chaoimh showdown, the Kingdom went seven points ahead with 20 minutes played but found themselves just one point ahead with 70 minutes on the clock.
They kicked on to record a 1-19 to 3-10 win and the new manager insisted he never reckoned it would be any different despite what a host of analysts and supporters had predicted in advance.
"Cork are proud and they weren't going to lie down for us," Keane told RTÉ Sport. "They are a good team and were always going to come back at us.
"I would have said before the game that this was going to be tight.
"There was no question in my mind. We have a lot of young players on this team, a lot of players playing in their first Munster final today and a good share had only played in their first Musnter final last year.
"There was no doubt in our heads that this was going to be a tight humdinger of a game and that’s what it turned out to be."
Kerry are now through to the Super 8s where they will be in a group alongside the Ulster champions, and Connacht and Leinster's beaten finalists or Round 4 qualifier winners.
"The concession of the three goals is something that we are going to have to look at," added Keane.