Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice believes his side are in better shape now than they were this time last year despite Sunday's reverse against Derry.

The Kingdom slipped to a 0-16 to 0-14 loss to Derry in Killarney on Sunday and are pointless after two games in Division 1.

In 2013, Kerry lost their opening four games in the spring campaign, but stirred themselves sufficiently to win their last three matches and keep themselves in the top flight.

But their performances against Derry and Dublin have proved that Fitzmaurice's squad are showing better than was the case 12 months ago.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Fitzmaurice said: "We're disappointed we didn't get something out of the Derry game.

"I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but I think we’re ahead of where we were this time last year.

"We made some bizarre decision today in possession. You have to credit Derry, however, in the second half every time we got to within a score of them they had a kick and got a couple of scores to keep that three-point cushion the whole time.

"We had a couple of goal chances, but we didn’t take them, didn’t even get a point.

"We’re facing Mayo in the next game so it does not get any easier." 

"I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but I think we’re ahead of where we were this time last year"

Derry boss Brian McIver was obviously delighted after watching his troops take maximum points after their long trip south.

He told RTÉ Sport: “It’s not too often that you come down to Killarney and get a result against Kerry. We knew our start to the league was massive with games against Tyrone and Kerry.

"It’s a big step for a side coming out of Division 2 with so many young players.

"Over the course of the game we deserved it. We didn’t start very well. For the first six minutes we hardly got our hands on the ball.

"But once our midfield got a bit of a grip I thought we worked some fine scores.

"We had a great goal chance just before half-time. Enda Lynn panicked on the chance and it’s not like him to panic."

McIver picked out midfielder Fergal Doherty for special praise.

"He was outstanding. When you need a ball winner in the middle, Fergal goes and does that. He was out of football for three years but you wouldn’t have thought that watching him today."